One of my favourite Pixies’ songs is “Where Is My Mind”. Not very original, I know, but it’s a really good song. It’s a lot like the thoughts running through my head at any given moment – a random chain of seemingly unrelated bits-n-bobs that would kind of make sense if I took the time to think about them properly.
I’m always looking for something new (and hopefully free) to experience. Someone mentioned “First Thursday’s” to me and I was keen… Every first Thursday of the month, a number of art galleries in Rosebank and Braamfontein open their doors (for free!) for extended hours. Nearby this “art mile” is a cordoned off street which sports a selection of food trucks and live music. It sounded like an amazing evening of culture and so I rallied Mrs Megamalist and a friend to accompany me.
Getting dressed to go, I threw on my favourite t-shirt – the Pixies tour shirt from their concert in SA (because music is art too, right?). It turns out that actual art calls for something less “band name across the boobs” and I felt marginally under-dressed when we arrived.
Art cannot be viewed on an empty stomach and so we hit the food trucks first. The area was slowly filling up and there was a relatively festive atmosphere as a jazz band set up and started playing. After chowing down on our dinner (chased by an inordinately overpriced drink) it was time to hit the galleries.
Before we get to the art on display, perhaps I should provide some perspective… As a young child, I loved drawing and I wasn’t too terrible either. In fact, some art that sells for thousands looks not unlike my drawings from age 5. By age 6 I’d moved on to other pursuits and so it was around this time that my art skills unfortunately stopped developing. In adulthood, while I can tell the difference between paint and pencil, I have no clue about things like “expressionism”, “contemporary” or “nouveau” and I was hoping to be schooled as we flitted from gallery to gallery.
One gallery showcased a somewhat disturbing collection of paintings which reminded me of Wes Borland’s weird and unsettling artwork. Another displayed an interesting set of what I’d imagine could be described as “abstracts” (this particular venue also provided the full “art gallery” experience, as people glided around holding glasses of wine and speaking in hushed David Attenborough tones). The highlight of the evening for me was a gallery displaying massive-hand stitched mosaic-like works – click here to see them (however, at the risk of sounding artsy, the pictures are best viewed in person – unfortunately the effect is lost on the website and doesn’t do them justice!).
Of course, no outing is without its cringe-worthy moment and this evening was no exception. The Goodman Gallery was hosting an exhibition of related-theme works splashed around its labyrinth-y hallways. We floated between the oddly shaped rooms and passageways, viewing a short film and a total of only 3 paintings.
Determined to find something more, we located and squeezed our way into a very thin corridor. “There is nothing to see down there…”, the curator called after us. As we turned to make our way back, we realised we were standing in the window of the one of the most well-known art galleries in Johannesburg. There I was – (to paraphrase) “a Pixie in the spotlights” – lit up for all on Jan Smuts Avenue to see. “Where Is My Mind” indeed.
Call it embarrassing? I call it art!
If you’re interested in art or food trucks, check out First Thursdays website. You won’t learn the difference between “expressionism” and “contemporary” but it’s a decent evening out.
Do you know anything about art? Share your wisdom in the comment section.