Goodman Gallery holds the reputation as a pre-eminent art gallery on the African continent, platforming art that confronts entrenched power structures and champions social change.
Goodman Gallery has been pivotal in shaping contemporary South African art, bringing David Goldblatt, William Kentridge, David Koloane, Sam Nhlengethwa and Sue Williamson to the world’s attention for the first time during the apartheid era.
Liza Essers has brought more than 30 international artists to the gallery roster since she became owner and director in 2008. Goodman Gallery has a global programme working with established artists from South Africa, the next generation of significant voices from the continent, as well as prominent international artists engaged in a dialogue with the African context. Some of these artists include Kapwani Kiwanga, Grada Kilomba, Yinka Shonibare CBE, Lisa Brice, Candice Breitz, Mikhael Subotzky, Hank Willis Thomas, El Anatsui, Ernesto Neto, Alfredo Jaar, Shirin Neshat and Ghada Amer.
Critical to this programme has been the introduction by Essers of two ongoing curatorial initiatives: In Context, which explores tensions of place and belonging; and South-South, which considers connections between artists from the ‘global south’. Goodman Gallery’s expansion to London furthers this mission to confront dominant historical narratives and to contribute to contemporary art discourse and social repair.
Goodman Gallery has a legacy of facilitating broader social access to art, serving in an institutional capacity through its public programming, publishing, and education. The gallery and its artists have a history of supporting NGOs committed to advocating for human rights. In 2019, Goodman Gallery has partnered with Witkoppen Health and Welfare Clinic to raise funds for their work providing first-rate medical and welfare services to under-serviced populations in Johannesburg.