DIY Index:

Good Enough in Atlanta, GA

By October 26, 2018
Installation view of Belgian artist Tom Volkaert’s exhibition “Almost Good Enough,” presented by Good Enough at Atlanta Contemporary through December 15.

Good Enough
4315 Dove Point
Atlanta, GA 30096
Open by appointment only

Christian Siriano on view at SCAD FASH in Atlanta through October 9

Operated by: Steffen Sornpao and Jordan Spurlin

Opened: July 2016

Most recent exhibitions: Tom Volkaert, “Almost Good Enough,” (October 24-December 15, 2018, Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta); Ellie Hunter and McKeever Donovan, “Robyn,” (September 9-30, 2018); Steffen Sornpao, “An HD240430 to call my own,” (February 23, 2018); Danya Smith, “fill that whole in my heart,” (December 15, 2017-January 5, 2018)

The formula of “Good X” seems like a popular way to name artist-run spaces in the South: Little Rock is home to Good Weather, and Good Children Gallery is located in New Orleans. What’s the story behind the name “Good Enough?”

Rafael Soldi: A body in transit is now on view at the Frost Museum, Miami through December 4

It came about while we were cleaning and prepping our first space. It needed a lot of work and deep cleaning to get it functional (and suitably healthy for people to be in). With the amount of work that was necessary, I got lazy at certain points and kept finding myself saying, “That’s good enough,” and moving on to the next task. I jokingly asked Jordan if we should just name the space that, and it stuck. After thinking about it, we felt it encapsulated what we’re doing as two people who previously had no experience running a gallery or business: mostly figuring out every step ourselves (with some help from friends who were also running spaces—thank you Erin [Jane Nelson], Jason [Benson], and Evan [Hyde]) but still wanting to present ourselves as “good enough” to be on par with spaces in major art hubs. A little fun fact: we asked Craig Drennen what we should call the space, and he gave us the name “Space-ment,” which is what we registered our business’s name as when we went to buy lighting fixtures, ’cause we hadn’t decided on a name yet. That is still currently our name on file.

Good Enough has occasionally moved around Metro Atlanta since opening in 2016, first hosting exhibitions in your basement in Capitol View and then hosting one show, Ellie Hunter and McKeever Donovan‘s “Robyn,” under the stairs at your parents’ house in the suburbs. The current exhibition by Belgian artist Tom Volkaert is presented in Atlanta Contemporary’s Chute Space. What has the experience of presenting exhibitions in these different spaces been like?

It’s made the art-showing process more exciting and also more challenging because we’re not simply arranging works on white walls. There’s a greater sense of play where the relationship between an artist’s work and the space has to be considered more carefully, but there’s also the task of allowing the works to really shine because they’re competing with the visuals of the space itself. We’ve been enthusiastic about how every artist we’ve shown has done something to really make the given space their own and transform the environment into something new each time.

The spaces where Good Enough has operated—in a basement, under the stairs, in a museum’s former coal chute—share qualities of being tucked away, sometimes subterranean, almost as if they’re hidden. Was it intentional to pursue such decisions? What common sensibility, if any, guides how and where you present an artist’s work?

It initially came from the financial inability to rent a gallery front and deciding to utilize unused spaces where we reside. Once we adopted the mindset of creating something “good enough” out of what was available, it didn’t seem necessary to ever rent a separate space. We gravitate toward spaces that have a sense of rawness, uniqueness, and history to them that allows the viewer to feel more engaged with where they are physically while viewing a show. Having a space in our home also created a comforting domestic atmosphere around the openings; we’ve had food being cooked in the kitchen (whether Cody Tumblin‘s delicious coconut soup or Tyler Beard‘s grill mastery) while people watch movies projected in the living room and dance to house music in the foyer till 2 am. We’ve realized our intent with Good Enough is to build relationships and create memorable experiences separate from the capital-driven white cube.

Good Enough’s first two exhibitions—”Seafood Fraud” and “From the Roota to the Toota”—were group shows, but you’ve since shifted to presenting solo or two-person exhibitions. What led to that change, and have you considered doing group shows again in the future?

At first, having group shows seemed like an easier thing to accomplish because we wanted to reach out to artists we admired but didn’t know personally, and group shows seemed low-commitment enough for an artist to be willing to participate with a small-time project space. But, after having those two group shows, it felt like our space was being underutilized, so we started working with artists on do solo shows and gave them free rein over the space, which has turned out to be much more engaging, and artists seemed just as interested—if not more so—to be part of our program. It also provides better opportunities to construct meaningful relationships with the artists we’re working with one-on-one, and for our audience to get to know the artists in a personable manner, which can create ties to the local arts community. Currently, we’ll be sticking to solo shows until there’s an intentional reason to do a group show.

The entryway to the space beneath residential stairs where Good Enough presented Ellie Hunter and McKeever Donovan’s “Robyn” in September 2018.
Ellie Hunter and McKeever Donovan, “Robyn,” September 2018.
Ellie Hunter’s Princess in “Robyn,” September 2018.
An untitled work in Danya Smith’s “fill that whole in my heart,” December 2017-January 2018.

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