Get This Gallery has shuttered, owner Lloyd Benjamin* has just announced. The gallery’s last show, of works by Austin Eddy and Harrison Keys, closed on July 12. “I’ve been stealthy,” says Benjamin, who simultaneously announced the launch of a new venture, 4th Projects, a curatorial and consulting venture.
“The gallery had reached a point—a glass ceiling,” he says explaining his decision. “It was not a financially based decision, but you certainly start looking at the financials” when considering something like that. The gallery had just had its best year ever, says Benjamin, and “I wanted to go out on a high note.” The timing allows him to move forward confidently with his new venture.
Over the next few months, Benjamin will be focusing on getting his burgeoning framing business humming. While the gallery was self-supporting, Frame This “is how I make a living,” says Benjamin.With the closure, Atlanta loses one of its edgier art venues. “People will take it any which way they want,” he says, declining to comment on the state of the art scene in Atlanta. “I hope they don’t dwell on it that long.” He knows it might be seen as a sad day, “but it’s not,” he says. “Galleries come and go. It’s a cycle.” Not having a brick-and-mortar space will give Benjamin a lot of freedom to pursue opportunities and projects with artists. “I’ll be able to entertain and explore whatever comes my way,” he says.
Benjamin has already completed 4th Projects’s, er, first project: a show at the Hyatt Midtown, which features works by Scott Ingram, Bean Worley, HENSE, and Heather Greenway [through September 1]. A show of Stephanie Dowda’s work will go on view later this month in the exhibition space at the law firm of Arnall Golden Gregory, programmed by Anne Lambert Tracht in conjunction with 4th Projects. Benjamin actually likens his new venture to Tracht’s consulting and curatorial business Consultart.
Benjamin first opened his gallery in 2004 in Castleberry Hill, before moving to the West Side and then, last year, to Solomon Projects’ former location on Monroe (the building is still owned by Nancy Solomon). In recent years, Get This participated in the Aqua Art Fair in Miami, one of the few Atlanta galleries to show during Art Basel Miami week. Benjamin has no current plans to participate in any fairs, but has not ruled them out.
4th Projects’s name comes from his being Lloyd William Benjamin IV and that he lived in the Old 4th Ward when he opened his first gallery. He refuses to call his new venture “a pop-up gallery” [Ed. note: yes, let’s please stop using this trivializing term.] “There’s a long history of temporary art projects” that predates the term, he notes.
Over its 10-year history, Benjamin mounted 50 exhibitions at Get This, featuring such artists as Ben Venom, Gyun Hur, Ben Roosevelt, Andy Moon Wilson, Fahamu Pecou, Matthew Craven, Shara Hughes, Tommy Nease, and Drew Conrad. As noted in a press release, gallery highlights include the High Museum of Art’s acquisition of eight pieces over the past three years, and the sale of a Ben Roosevelt painting of Iggy Pop to the iconic rocker.
*Lloyd Benjamin is the partner of BURNAWAY executive director Susannah Darrow.