Writer, artist and research associate at the University of Cape Town’s African Centre for Cities (ACC), Kim Gurney pens a new book on the evolving art space August House in Johannesburg.

August House is Dead, Long Live August House! The Story of a Johannesburg Atelier, published by FourthWall Books, is a fascinating study of the role of the atelier and its artists in South Africa’s fractious art world, and a consideration of the relationship between art and the ever-changing city of Johannesburg.

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Located in the  east end of the Joburg inner city, the former textiles factory undergoes a dramatic transformation to become, over the next several years, one of the city’s foremost artists’ studios. When the sale of the building seems imminent, not only must the artists face the daunting prospect of relocation, but a remarkable chapter in the complex narrative of contemporary South African art seems about to close. Sensing the importance of this moment, Kim Gurney, herself a former tenant of the atelier, follows the stories of several of the August House denizens through some of the artworks that came to life in their studios.

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This project was made possible with the support of the University of Cape Town’s African Centre for Cities (ACC) and the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO). GCRO is a partnership between the University of Johannesburg, the University of the Witwatersrand, the Gauteng Provincial Government and organised local government in Gauteng.