The World’s Biggest Contemporary African Art Museum

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Rendering of Zeitz MOCAA.
Image courtesy Heatherwick Studio.

The world’s largest museum devoted to contemporary art from Africa is under construction in Cape Town. The $50 million Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) will be housed in a disused, colonial-era industrial structure consisting of 42 towering, nine-story-tall grain silos on the waterfront in Cape Town.

“It has been my life dream to build a contemporary art museum in Africa,” Mark Coetzee, the former director of Miami’s Rubell Family Collection and executive director and chief curator of Zeitz MOCAA, told the AFP. “When I left Cape Town 25 years ago I vowed to return only when I had the skills and the relationships to make this happen…”I think you can say that when it is complete it will be the biggest museum in Africa and the world focusing on contemporary art practice in and from Africa.”

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Rendering of Zeitz MOCAA.
Image courtesy Heatherwick Studio.

The museum’s permanent collection will be anchored by the holdings of its namesake, German businessman Jochen Zeitz, former chairman of the Puma footwear company and prolific African art collector. Zeitz will cover the costs of running the new museum as well as providing funds for new acquisitions. Zeitz’s collection, founded in 2002, is currently spread between spaces in the United States, Kenya, Spain, Switzerland, and South Africa. The Cape Town museum will centralize Zeitz’s holdings.

The institution, which will be quite literally carved out of the concrete grain silos on the Victoria and Albert Waterfront. The project, which is slated for completion by late 2016, has been designed by Britain’s Thomas Heatherwick, a name that will be familiar to many for his award-winning 2012 Olympic Cauldron design.

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Rendering of Zeitz MOCAA.
Image courtesy Heatherwick Studio.

“How do you turn 42 vertical concrete tubes into a place to experience contemporary culture?” Heatherwick asked the AFP. “We could either fight a building made of concrete tubes or enjoy it’s tube-iness.”

 


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