My first visit to the property at 814 Edgewood Avenue, where gallerist Susan Bridges makes her home, occurred years before Whitespace opened in the carriage house out back. Among Bridges’s pre-gallery presentations of art, she played host to an installation in Joey Orr’s Shedspace series in 2003. Some readers may remember the flock of origami cranes suspended from the ceiling of a garden house, itself covered by a nest woven from wisteria vines, on the eastern side of Bridges’s house in Inman Park.
What I didn’t know when I attended the Shedspace opening was that she had a hand in an even earlier site-specific work which remains one of my favorite things ever presented in Atlanta: During 1996’s Cultural Olympiad, Bridges and her son John Otte transformed the then-vacant Herren’s restaurant downtown. Otte did so with insight that, for me, earned him a Japanese sobriquet I aspire to myself, gomi no sensei — master of trash; even now, his removal and inverted re-placement of the eatery’s wall-mounted duty roster remains emblematic of the magic wrought on the premises. Bridges, meanwhile, brought together video and crickets for Gracious Living, her part of this indelible installation.
A dozen or so installations later came Whitespace. And the rest is Atlanta art history.
[This clip is an excerpt from an hour-long StoryCorps session.]