Goodluckhavefun Gallery Gets a Visit From “Yours,” Truly
Qmmunity Editor James Scott checks out queer art at DIY garage gallery
By James Scott,
9:30AM, Sat. Jan. 14, 2023
Last Sunday, I pulled up on the curving driveway of Goodluckhavefun – a gallery curated within the garage of a house on Enfield Road. Waiting for me was not just co-founder and artist Tim McCool, but also the intriguing exhibition “Yours,” that featured six queer artists and their pieces on how objects teach their viewers how to see them.
A little backstory on the gallery: Goodluckhavefun started in 2020 by McCool and fellow founder/designer Kira Prentice as a way to showcase alternative art in a pandemic-safe way. They’ve featured in two Austin Studio Tours so far, and have often curated their shows around local Texan artists.
Their current show, whose full title is “Yours, bubble mechanisms for locating the center* from your center to your center to your center to yours,” interrogates objects and their functionalities while taking heavy inspiration from Gordon Hall’s “Object Lessons: Thinking Gender Variance through Minimalist Sculpture.” All pieces in the exhibition are positioned around the GLHF garage in such a manner that I couldn’t tell at first what was art and what was common garage ephemera. Spoiler alert: Everything is part of the show, even the objects you miss at first.
When I entered, McCool greeted me and gave me the backstory on the gallery and show. The information was good, and important enough that I detailed it for you up top, but I was antsy to check out the pieces so after an assurance he’d email Hall’s “Object Lessons” to me, McCool let me loose into the garage.
I was struck by Emily E. Lee’s Thou (Shell), a piece that first looked like a piece of electrical equipment I didn’t understand. The black slick epoxy wrapped around steel formed into a bowl reminded me of so much junk around the garage of my youth – filled with the bits and bolts of my dad’s half-finished car projects. In their description on the map McCool provided, Lee lists as part of the materials used “certain expectations.” Was my past experience in paternal-commanded spaces an unwitting piece of this art just shown to me? In a sense, yes, as all the pieces in “Yours,” ask a certain level of audience participation – conscious or subconscious – to fully make their point.
Take, for example, Lee’s other piece: Astronomic Tailings. While I puzzled over the final form of the half-word “Astronom,” I also noticed how hard it was to read the faint lettering. There was also artless frame – just two pieces of wood painted with no inner piece to display. Taking advantage of a gallery curator being right there, I asked McCool about the piece and was amazed to find out its creation story. Lee used an adhesive spray to place the stenciled letters, so the slow appearance of each letter was the result of debris and, in their words, “periphery” introduced by every subsequent viewing of the show. Every opening of the garage; every eyeballs pre-my own; and every warm body taking in the art had in turn left it more in focus. Rather than provide the art directly into a pre-structured frame, the piece required my viewing it to become viewable – make fill what had appeared empty.
In Hall’s “Object Lessons,” it is argued that sculpture “[occupies] a unique place to learn about and transform our experiences of the gendered body, not primarily because of what we see in the sculptures, but because of how they might enable us to see everything else.” What makes the pieces in “Yours,” so fascinating isn’t just the pieces themselves, but how they recontextualize their environment. Gabrielle Constantine’s work When glass breaks, it’s a million little pieces is an evocative photo of ephemera – a miniature Statue of Liberty, a bedazzled hat, various plastic animals, etc. – framed by soft green velvet. Yet take a few steps back as I did and bonk your head on a wooden rabbit dangling from the garage door. McCool pointed out that this rabbit is an Easter egg (pun not intended, I think) as when I checked Constantine’s photo again, I saw its little wooden body among the knick-knacks. A connection was made, opening wider my eyes to entire space. Because of one piece, I was able to see more in the rest of the exhibition: the leporine vulnerability of Constantine’s soft sculpture A Shaved Head, a Feminist Snap, “Tick Tock” Said the Croc; the textured brightness of handmade paper painted and charcoal-streaked in Joy Scanlon’s MilleFluore; and the shattered yet solid urgency in Brendan Shea’s cement & glass No. Their shared story wasn’t one of straight-forward narrative but rather a collective intent to connect.
Collecting my thoughts after seeing art reminds me too much of school work, which is why being able to have scattered and intense reactions unburdened by a thesis statement is one of my greatest adult pleasures. As such, I can’t say any final reading of “Yours,” came to me as I left GLHF, nor does one come to me now while writing this review. Instead, I ask you visit this exhibition before it closes on Jan. 29 and let yourself enjoy the pleasure of digesting what you see. Like gender, art is what you make of it and in “Yours,” there is ample material for one to work with.
Goodluckhavefun is open for viewing by appointment only, so check out their website to see what dates are available as well as more information on their exhibitions. On Saturday, Jan. 21, GLHF along with several of the artists from “Yours,” will host a party where you’ll be able to make “house jewelry” from 1 to 4pm.