Goodspace gallery performs an essential role in Sydney’s art scene. Above the Lord Gladstone on Regent Street in Chippendale, it doesn’t charge artists to show their work, nor does it take a commission from sales. Chris Loutfy, who has run it since it was founded in 2015, puts on a new show every Wednesday night. For young, new artists, it's one of the best – and only – ways to break into the scene.
“We allow people to put on shows they couldn’t afford to at other galleries,” says Loutfy. “We get younger, emerging artists doing their first shows as well as artists taking bigger risks. Some artists who had their first show at Goodspace and became more established return to show [here]. Others are more experimental in a variety of mediums and have shows where there’s nothing for sale.”
Each exhibition is on for just one night and the gallery isn't open during the day. The approach means the room is often loud and packed. “You’re seeing the work in a celebratory format,” says Loutfy. “[You’re seeing the work], having a drink with the artist’s friends; it’s a party. It speaks to the art we show. They aren’t taking it super seriously.”
Loutfy thinks the Sydney art scene lacks a variety of spaces for artists at different levels. “[Often] after artists show with me there’s not much else they can do before they hit the big galleries,” he says. “We need more accessible spaces rather than just a few at the bottom and mid-range, and then heaps at the top range.”
So far this year the gallery has shown an exhibition by the photographer Hudson Reed that was accompanied on the night by the band Vitalised. And there have been three group shows: one of emerging female artists, another of laser-printed art called Xerox and another that collected established artists trying a new medium for the first time.
Goodpsace’s connection to the local community extends beyond the arts. “You’ve got Lord Gladstone and Freda’s down the street where people go after shows for a drink. There’s also a barber, Brickfields bakery and White Rabbit gallery, which adds a fine-art element. You can come engage with different creative spaces and people in the same area.”
One secret about the gallery: there’s a loose brick in one of the walls. It doesn’t sound like much, but people leave Loufty notes, stickers and cards behind it. “Every time I check there is something different in there,” he says.