ARTicle 

The Opening

On Wednesday 24 November 2004 at 19h00 an exciting new art gallery will open its doors in a magnificent building nestled between two skyscrapers in the heart of the Cape Town CBD. 

Number 34 Long Street, a gem from bygone days, will graciously reclaim its former glory by hosting an extraordinary collection of works by contemporary South African and international artists.

The double storey building, designed by architect A.de Witt, was probably erected in 1904 despite the 1896 inscription on the curved pediment escutcheon. Its exquisite steel-framed period façade exemplifies late Victorian use of terracotta and is protected as a heritage site. Several decorative details including attached columns, escutcheons, decorative consoles and side scrolls display the original owner’s monogram, T G & Co and the word Merchants in decorative script placed centrally on the façade indicates the building’s commercial purpose.

The original glazed double doors with unique wrought iron grilles extend a friendly welcome to visitors while a large arched window framed in teak affords uninterrupted views of Long Street. Though the interior has been extensively renovated, the original billboard of faience tiles at the entrance remains, as do the dado matchboard ceilings and wooden staircase with turned balustrades. 

This beautiful building’s transformation into an art gallery will be celebrated by an opening exhibition which will include exciting new works in various media by South African artists like William Kentridge, Claudette Schreuders, Norman Catherine, Noria Mabasa , Willie Bester, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Esther Mahlangu, Roger Ballen, Robert Hodgins, David Koloane, Lindelani Ngwenya and others.

International art on exhibition will include works by world renowned photographer Cindy Sherman, pop artist Jeff Koons and painter/photographer Chuck Close, neither of whose work has been shown in Cape Town before, and Dutch artist Marlene Dumas. Two works by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, regarded as one of the ten most influential players in the art world, will also be exhibited. One of Murakami’s three-dimensional works auctioned by Christies in London in May this year fetched a record $624 000 and his work will feature in the opening exhibition of the new USA MoMA. 

The launch of 34 LONG as one of Cape Town’s most significant fine art venues on 24 November 2004 at 19h00 will be an event not to be missed!


W i l l i a m   K e n t r i d g e 
 

T a k a s h i   M u r a k a m i
Also see 34long.com
Ref: John Rennie, 1978 Catalogue: The buildings of Central Cape Town 2: 52
Ref: ArtReview LIV:63-94, November 2004 

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