by Joe Nolan
I wouldn't have predicted it even a few years ago, but the art scene in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood may be evolving into Nashville's contemporary fine art headquarters. Zeitgeist has officially moved from their Hillsboro Village digs to the space they're renovating at 516 Hagan Street and the recent addition of Fort Houston has found Brick Factory relocating from Cummins Station to 500 Houston St. I could also argue that the burgers at Gabby's are works of art, but let's save that for some other post.
Another new addition joins go-to galleries Seed Space and Threesquared over at the Chestnut Square building. Ground Floor is the brainchild of Willard Tucker, visiting faculty at Watkins. One of Nashville's most thoughtful and eloquent curators, Tucker is one of the people at the forefront of making Nashville a city that matters when it comes to contemporary fine art. He is a member of the Coop collective and his curating of their group show at Space 204 was one of 2011's most memorable exhibits, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what he'll conjure in this new space.
So far, Ground Floor has only hosted one show, but it was a good one. Baroque Times featured work by artists affiliated with Watkins and showed at the end of March. The exhibit was co-curated by William Stewart and Tucker, and it featured a variety of expressions that connected to one another through interlocking themes. Tucker explained the work best in his press release: “Sacred and profane gestures of productivity and decadence invite exploration into such unlikely frontiers as belly button rings, motorcycle mayhem and the queer affects of baseball memorabilia.” Patrick DeGuira contributed a handful of his monochrome text paintings along with a riff on Warhol's yellow banana while Terry Thacker hung a long row of his imminently recognizable abstract canvases. The show also featured work by Stewart, David King and Robert Grand.
Ground Floor's latest outing is entitled Idle Hands, and it features work by David Anderson, Zack Rafuls and Zeitgeist artist Brady Haston, who can think of this show as his first in his art's new neighborhood. Something tells me Nashville's art intelligentsia will all be spending more time on those streets in the months to come.