Having missed the opening on the 4th July of Arts On Main I moseyed off to visit it last week-end. Located in Main Street at the corner of Bertha St, the only giveaway from the street of this newly renovated industrial space, is the pavement upgrades. The 1911 building was originally part of the D.F. Corlett yard and offices. A building contractor and past Mayor of Johannesburg, Corlett’s name on the façade gable facing Bertha St, bears testimony to his historical presence in this area of town. Leaving the street one enters a courtyard filled with olive and lemon trees around which are clustered various exhibition spaces, artists’ studios, fashion studios, and an eaterie called The Canteen (open for breakfast, lunch and supper) .
As I arrived mid afternoon on Saturday and as it is still very early days, most of the spacesWhen were closed. But this gave me a chance to chat to Jonathan Liebman the property developer (Propertuity). Son of Nirox Foundation Developer, Benji Liebman (another blog posting needed there), Jonathan has envisioned a space which will contribute to the regeneration of this part of town. He has assembled a formidable array of tenants. David Krut will open a second print studio and an art bookshop and Bailey African History Archives has a space. In keeping with the avant-garde and cutting edge nature of this development, the Goodman Gallery would like to see their gallery space as a project space where younger artists can be shown. The industrial proportions will afford the relocated Seippel Gallery the space to show large installations and Goethe on Main intend to foster alternative projects and young artists who have not yet been accepted into the stables of established galleries. But perhaps the ‘anchor tenant’ of this exciting new initiative is William Kentridge who has rented a large space for his studio. He won’t have far to walk to check out the hanging of the ‘Kentridge tapestries’ which will form the opening exhibition of Goodman’s in this space.