The Great Good Place
a project by Brandon Alvendia

The Great Good Place, an artist project by Brandon Alvendia, is a multi-layered set of collaborative exhibitions which considers the poetic, political, and aesthetic potential of curatorial practice within the setting of everyday life. Tasking artists,independent curators, and collectives based in Chicago with the challenge of outfitting Threewalls’ gallery spaces, the exhibitions within the exhibition will take inspiration from Chicago’s make-do and artist-run culture and reconsider a range of contexts from the one-car garage workshop, the living room sleepover, the backyard bbq blowout, the networking dinner party potluck, the closet office conference, the second bedroom studio visit, to the illegal basement nightclub, all as sites of artistic inquiry.

The show examines the capacity of curatorial ideas to address or even ameliorate the loss of “third places,” a term coined by urban sociologist Ray Oldenberg in his 1989 book, “The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community.” These spaces are sites where individuals can come together for the pleasure of good company and dynamic conversation and serve as the basis for maintaining the vital social energy required for democracy and civic engagement. As more and more artists, curators, and organizers take it upon themselves to transfigure their own personal, private, and work spaces into shared public and social “third places,” this exhibition and program series delves into this cultural ethos that gets by with gritty resourcefulness and playful idiosyncrasy. Alvendia and exhibition collaborators will be activating the space throughout the exhibition with programs, interview sessions, podcasts, hanging out, and making things together with gallery-goers.

The exhibition will also serve as the studio/office and launch site for the first issue of Alvendia’s new publication ATLAS DRIFT, a nomadic web and print-based platform documenting alternative art networks operating at the periphery of the mainstream contemporary art discourse, including short films, artist/space profiles, commissions, programming, forums, exhibitions, and celebrations in different cities around North America. The first expanded edition will feature profiles of the artists, curators, and spaces represented in the exhibition as well as commissioned texts, media and other material generated during the run of the show. Visitors will be able to preview and purchase copies in the gallery as well as subscribe to upcoming issues profiling New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and beyond.

Participants include (to be continually updated): TRUNK SHOWMichelle Grabner, ADDS DONNA, The FranklinD GalleryNEW CAPITALRoots & Culture X Super Sub, Kitchen SpaceInside/Within, I Don’t Hate This podcastfilmfrontAnthony StepterLillerne Tapesand Ron Ewert.

Brandon Alvendia is a Chicago-based artist, curator, writer, publisher and educator. His interdisciplinary practice playfully engages spatial and social architectures to envision temporary utopias, regularly performing and exhibiting around North America in collaboration with various artist-run initiatives. He is the founder of multiple Chicago alternative spaces artLedge (2004-2007), BEN RUSSELL (2009-2011), The Storefront (2010-2014), and art-publishing house Silver Galleon Press (2008-present). He was a recipient of the Propeller Fund in 2010, organized a three-act community-oriented experimental dramatic work, Chambre d’Amis, around the theme of place and memory for the Institute of American Art in Portland, ME in 2013, and continues to publish through Silver Galleon Press, which he expanded into a workshop to focus on its performative and communal aspects. As an artist-curator, his work supports the efforts of local and international artists by creating platforms for experimentation, discussion and collaboration. He is currently working on a large-scale nomadic publishing project ATLAS DRIFT, initiated through the Independent Curators International, based on North American artist-run culture with upcoming stops in Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia and the Bay Area. Alvendia is a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (BFA ‘03) and University of Illinois at Chicago (MFA ‘07).