Polaroids and Pie-Eating

One of my favorite things about Crawl Space is that the address includes the direction "behind a wooden fence." Somehow the polite, slightly goofy diction made me think this new gallery might have potential.

As it turns out, Crawl Space is both ladylike and anarchic, and run by four nice young ladies from back East. Like most artist-run spaces, Crawl Space's genesis had its roots in a perceived lack; Debi Boyette, one of the four, described it as a reaction to the sterile sameness of what was being offered in Pioneer Square. What the Crawl Space ladies want to bring into the art scene, Boyette told me, is the unexpected.

Boyette and the other three--Megan Szczecko, Anne Matheren, and Rosebud Eustace--know each other from a network of connections in Atlanta and Boston and graduate school and art shows, the latter including shows they've curated (individually) at Art/Not Terminal, Secluded Alley Works, and 1020 First. Their new space--which is, indeed, behind a wooden fence, across the street from Coffee Messiah near the increasingly chaotic intersection of Denny and Olive--has a great feel to it, the click of possibility, which is intensified by the approach at night: past the wooden fence with its neatly lettered sign, through a rather dark yard toward the bright, warm room.

I missed the first Crawl Space show, which featured the work of the founders, but showed up for the second, called Polaroid, and featuring lots and lots of them. Underground luminary Sam Trout was at the opening taking Polaroid pictures of an increasing number of Polaroid pictures, and there was a series of self-portraits by flatchestedmama--in and out of and partially in the batty-lady getup you're likely to see her wearing these days--but other than those two, the show was made up entirely of artists I hadn't heard of. Which was refreshing and baggageless, and my favorite piece consisted of a series of images of knees.

There were two tableaux set up for guests to use for Polaroid souvenirs: a gold boudoir, and the garden of Eden, complete with serpent hand puppets and a kind of fig-leaf bikini. Unfortunately I didn't stay long enough to see one male guest strip down and make use of it--but this, I think, is the kind of unexpected and spontaneous performance gesture that might make Crawl Space a destination along the lines of (on a different scale) Fuzzy Engine, or even Vital 5 Productions. The promise of a pie-eating contest at last weekend's opening for Galleria Diarrhea bodes well, I think.