Jochen Zeitz on His New Museum of African Art

Museum openings in South Africa aren’t typically greeted with crowds lining up around the block long before the doors are flung open. But such was the buzz surrounding the opening of Cape Town’s new Zeitz MOCAA, the first multilevel museum on the continent devoted to contemporary African art, that on the first four days that it was open to the public, thousands thronged the area and queued for up to 45 minutes to get in. The fact that the opening weekend offered free admission certainly helped, not to mention the hype created by the glitzy private preview soirée for South Africa’s fashion and media types hosted by Gucci.
The museum is the brainchild of former Puma chief executive officer and German national Jochen Zeitz, who commissioned noted English architect Thomas Heatherwick to transform an abandoned grain silo along the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront facing the Atlantic into a nine-story, 100-gallery temple to 21st-century art exclusively from Africa and the African diaspora. Costing $37 million to build, Zeitz MOCAA has been heralded as the continent’s answer to the Tate Modern.
Here, Zeitz talks about collecting, creating a museum and the relationship of fashion to art.
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