Goodman Gallery is one of the most distinguished and longest-standing international contemporary art galleries. Established in Johannesburg in 1966, the gallery works with artists who are at once contemporary, influential and strive to shift perspectives and engender social transformation.
Founded during the era of apartheid, Goodman Gallery offered a non-discriminatory space when museums served the agenda of the autocratic government. Since 2008, under the directorship of Liza Essers, Goodman Gallery has expanded on this legacy, shifted its focus, and introduced numerous pivotal curatorial initiatives and partnerships. Essers has promoted a global outlook, while initiating unconventional interventions both within and outside of the traditional gallery space. This approach has dovetailed with an incisive three-tiered focus: working with southern Africa’s most significant artists, both established and emerging; those from the greater African continent; and international artists who engage in a dialogue with the African context.
In 2009 the Goodman Gallery initiated Goodman Projects and to date has presented over twenty progressive and innovative exhibitions, installations and performances. This program, essentially a ‘third space’, provides a platform for non-commercial initiatives, aimed at containing an aesthetic of change and disruption. Goodman Gallery’s program also extends beyond the walls of the gallery to include collaborative projects with major educational and institutional museums in South Africa and internationally. Local initiatives have a non-profit focus, and have arisen from a lack of institutional funding for arts programs in South Africa.