Must-See Cape Town Art Galleries
Keen to explore Cape Town’s art culture but don’t know where to begin? A visit to some of the city’s most prominent art galleries is a great way to start. Take a look at our list of some of Cape Town’s best art galleries.
NORVAL ART FOUNDATION
Well worth the short drive out of town! New purpose built museum and sculpture garden, focusing on South African ‘greats’. It centres around Louis Norval’s significant private collection, with an impressive line-up of temporary exhibitions. Like most South African art spaces, it is not too big and has a good range of events.
Address: 4 Steenberg Rd, Steenberg Estate, Cape Town, 7945
Telephone: 087 654 5900
Opening hours: 10am – 5:15pm (closed Tuesdays) and open until 7:15pm on Saturdays
Admission fee: R160 Adult (free on Mondays) | Kids under 18 free | R250 membership (go for it if visiting more than once)
IZIKO SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL ART GALLERY
South Africa’s first art museum, the Iziko South African National Gallery, has wonderful old galleries – wooden floor boards and high ceilings. Exhibitions are usually contemporary South African art, interspersed with works from its extensive historical collections. It has an active Friends scheme that is well worth joining if you live in Cape Town, or visit regularly.
Address: Government Avenue, Company’s Garden, Cape Town
Telephone: 021 481 3970
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday 10am – 5pm
Admission fee: R30 Adult | R15 kids 6 – 18 years | R15 SA students and pensioners (free for Friends and on certain national public holidays)
ZEITZ Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (ZMOCAA)
Opening last September (2017), this public, not-for-profit contemporary art museum, collects and exhibits twenty-first-century contemporary art from Africa and its Diaspora. If this sort of art isn’t your cup of tea, it is well worth visiting for the jaw-dropping architecture, designed by Thomas Heatherwick CBE in partnership with local practices.
Address: Silo District, S Arm Rd, Waterfront, Cape Town
Telephone: 087 350 4777
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday 10 am – 6pm | Tuesdays closed
Admission: R 180 per adult | Under 18s free upon presentation of a valid ID | Free for African residents until 1pm on Weds (and Friday once a month – check website)
THE AVA GALLERY
A gem located in the heart of Cape Town, the Association for Visual Arts (AVA) is South Africa’s oldest not-for-profit gallery and the ideal or discovering emerging artists. A panel of artists and art historians carefully select works to exhibit.
Address: 35 Church Street, Cape Town
Telephone: 021 424 7436
Opening hours: Tuesday – Thursday 10am – 5pm | Saturday 10am – 1pm | Sunday – Monday closed
STEVENSON Gallery is Cape Town’s Kunsthaus Zürich, or for me, Whitecapel in London where I worked many years ago. If you can’t face the entry fees Zeitz MOCAA or Norval, this is a worthy alternative. You’ll be tempted too by their publications.
Address: STEVENSON Cape Town, Buchanan Building, 160 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock
Telephone: 021 462 1500
Opening hours: Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm | Saturday 10am – 1pm |
Admission fee: Free
SMAC CAPE TOWN
The gallery with the great name, SMAC (Stellenbosch Modern and Contemporary) is a good one for buy top-tier South African art at a manageable price. Make sure you visit their ‘store room’!
Address: 1st Floor, The Palms, 145 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock (it is hard to find)
Telephone: 021 461 1029
Opening hours: Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm Saturday 10am – 3pm
Admission fee: Free
Established in Johannesburg, 1966, Goodman Gallery is South Africa’s first contemporary art gallery of note. No surprises it has many of South Africa’s big names: William Kentridge, Sue Williamson and David Goldblatt. But it also has international artists who engage in a dialogue with the African context.
Address: 3rd Floor, Fairweather House,176 Sir Lowry Rd, Woodstock, Cape Town
Telephone: 021 462 7573/4
Opening Hours: Tuesday–Friday 9:30am – 5:30pm | Saturday 9:30am–4:00 (most commercial galleries in Cape Town close on Sat pm so this is a good place to go then) | Monday closed
Blank Projects offers experimental art practices by mainly emerging artists, some of whom are now mid-career and whose works are exhibited at the Zeitz MOCAA and at New York Art Fairs.
Sidenote: If you want a good place for the best salad in town, stop by The Kitchen on Woodstock’s the main road – they have expanded into Blank’s former gallery.
Address: 10 Lewin Street, Woodstock, Cape Town
Telephone: 021 462 4276
Opening hours: Monday closed | Tuesday – Friday 9am – 5pm | Saturday 10am – 1pm
Admission fee: Free
WHATIFTHWORLD is the home of a group of young contemporary Southern African artists. If you are particularly interested in film, this is your place. Some of my favourite South African mid-career artists are represented by this gallery that pops up in the art fairs around the world.
Address: First Floor, 16 Buiten St, Cape Town City Centre, 8000 (it moved from Woodstock mid 2018)
Telephone: 021 447 2376
Opening hours: Mondays and Sundays closed | 9:30am – 5pm (Fridays 4pm) | Saturday 9:30am – 1pm
Admission fee: Free
The best high-end design shop in town, Guild is the only gallery that represents locally made collectible designs in South Africa. – Some delightfully quirky, such as Porky Hefer, and others more classic and uniquely African. As well as a shop, it has regular exhibitions of contemporary furniture, lighting, art, and jewellery that have redefined perceptions of African design.
Address: Shop 5B, Silo 5, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Telephone: 021 461 2856
Opening hours: Monday – Friday 9am – 6pm | Saturday 10am – 2pm | Sunday closed
EVERARD READ/CIRCA GALLERY
Originally founded in Johannesburg in 1913, Everard Read is South Africa’s oldest commercial gallery, with galleries in Cape Town, Joburg and London. The artists they represent range from Dylan Lewis, well known for his bronze cats, to Brett Murray whose painting of Jacob Zuma when he was president was highly controversial.
Address: 3 Portswood Rd, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Telephone: 021 418 4527
Opening hours: Monday – Friday 9am – 6pm | Saturday 9am – 1pm | Sunday closed