Each Wednesday for the next two months, ARTnews will preview a short clip from the ninth season of Art21’s show Art in the Twenty-First Century, which will visit the Bay Area, Johannesburg, and Berlin.
David Goldblatt, the South African photographer who died in June at the age of 87, was known for documenting the Apartheid-era struggles in his country and the changes that occurred across the landscape after that period’s end. For the “Johannesburg” episode of Art in the Twenty-First Century, the series visited with Goldblatt and focused on his architectural photography, showing him snapping a photo of a building in the Sandton area of the city and discussing how people have imbued their values into the construction of churches and other such structures.
“White Afrikaner Protestant churches are those that I think of particularly,” he says. “The churches had these huge windows and this megaphonic structure. Come the 1970s, the forces of liberation are coming down to South Africa, increasingly impinging on Afrikaners. So their new churches become defensive. There are very few of them built with piercings in the outer walls. Public structures become clear manifestations to self-image.”
Season 9 of Art in the Twenty-First Century premieres September 21 at 9 p.m. on PBS with the episode devoted to Johannesburg.