Five ATL artists pay homage to Beep Beep’s closing
<i>CL</i> rounds up five artists’ thoughts on Beep Beep during the gallery’s twilight moments.
? Beep Beep Gallery’s final show, It’s Not Us, It’s You opens Sat., Dec. 5, before the space shutters for good. CL reached out to some of the artists involved in the grand finale. Below Mike Germon, Romy Aura Maloon, Ann-Marie Manker, Sanithna Phansavanh, and Lucha Rodriguez wax on Beep Beep, its owners James McConnell and Mark Basehore, and the legacy the space is sure to leave on our city.
? Mike Germon says:
? ?? Beep Beep Gallery means a lot to me. Any success I’ve had as an artist can all be attributed to the support I’ve gotten from those guys over the years. I was introduced to the local art scene by James shortly after I moved back to Atlanta after school. He then asked me to show art in his living room for a New Year’s Eve party. Apparently it was going to be a gallery that he, my buddy Steve Rauber, and Mark Basewhore (who I hadn’t met at the time) were going to run out of their house in Oakhurst. I had work in the living room and another artist, Aaron Barnes, had work in the dinning room. I think that was their first show. They did a couple of group shows and then eventually moved into the space where L’Avenue had been, and they’ve been there ever since. There was a short period after they moved where I felt like they had surpassed me in terms of quality and I wouldn’t really have the same opportunities to show there. Luckily I kept at it and they offered me a two-person show a couple of years later. Then eventually, a solo show. There are always new spaces and new venues to pick up the slack when one closes, but for me personally nothing will be able replace Beep Beep Gallery. ?? ??? Romy Aura Maloon says:
? ?? Beep Beep Gallery was the first space I ever showed my work in Atlanta. I submitted some images of my work online and a few months later, I was asked to participate in the gallery’s first sculpture show, called New Material. Mark and James were so welcoming and made me feel like my work was valid, even if I was self conscious about it at the time. This past summer, they asked me to produce a solo show for them and it was such a rewarding experience. They never made me feel like I needed to conform to a specific type of work and encouraged me to explore all of my different methods of making. I have been drawing much more lately as a result of that show. This gallery has been a great space to support and foster artists in exploring their practice. No one makes drinking cheap beer in a suit look classier than Mark and James! ??
? Ann-Marie Manker says:
? ?? As for Beep Beep, it’s my favorite gallery and I will truly miss it! It was an unconventional space and showcased both emerging and established artists that had a nice edge to their work. The gallery also straddled the line between an alternative and traditional galley space. Mark and James have such a great vibe and working with them was like working with good friends, because they are. I hope more spaces like this open in the future. Until then, here’s to Mark and James and the artists who helped shape Beep Beep’s legacy in the ATL art scene. ??
? Sanithna Phansavanh says:
? ?? James and Mark have pushed the arts in Atlanta for so many years, consistently celebrating the talent of our city and always providing alternative means in exposing our art. Now there will be one less reliable opportunity for emerging and mid-level artists to show, and for their respective collectors, those whose budgets won’t accommodate the higher-tier galleries, to purchase. It’ll be interesting to see what happens, to see if other galleries will fill the void or if artists will find a way to bypass the entire gallery system.
? On a personal level, it’s a little bittersweet. The work that James and Mark have done, tirelessly promoting and developing the arts scene, was tough. They did it because they were passionate, not because they were chasing a paycheck. I know it took a toll. So, Beep Beep’s closing is definitely sad (they were one of the first galleries to embrace me, so I’m eternally grateful to them for that), but now I know that my friends can relax a little bit. ??
? Lucha Rodriguez says:
? ?? Beep Beep was such a welcoming spot. They were always open for whatever artists wanted to explore and communicate no matter how crazy it was. It was definitely one of my favorite places to hang out and see some rad artwork. This space has been home to all the artwork that no other place would regularly show. Nothing was too wild, loud or too risky for Beep Beep. They were an amazing output for art in Atlanta. Who would have thought such a little gallery could win us over and become such a wonderful local art hub. ??
?It’s Not Us, It’s You will be on display until Sat., Dec. 19.