A garage, a gallery

FULTON — It’s not the first Minneapolis garage-cum-gallery, but somehow TuckUnder Projects’ location in the very bottom left-hand corner of the city’s grid, nearer Southdale than the IDS Center, makes its seem a bit unlikely.

Pete Driessen runs the show at 5120 York Ave. S., and he lives in the modest, mid-century residence on the other side of the garage-gallery’s fire door. Driessen bought the place two years ago, following a divorce, and although he’s made some improvements, he hasn’t touched the plastic butterflies pinned to the stucco near the front door or the painted woodpecker in the big maple tree out back.

Driessen appreciates the dissonance between these kitschy signifiers of near-suburbia and the minimalist white-box gallery he’s made of the tuck-under garage. A $5,000 Metropolitan Arts Council Grant paid for the new sheetrock and lighting, as well as small stipends for the artists who have shown there since this spring.

A painter who also creates scrap-wood sculptures, Driessen has made the gallery an extension of his artistic practice, an experiment in curation, hybrid space and community participation. He passes out postcards for upcoming shows at the Fulton Farmers Market, and neighbors swing by for openings.

“It’s about gifting to others,” he said. “It’s about being generous to others.”

Next up at TuckUnder Projects is “Afternoon Delight,” a group exhibition curated by Scott Stulen and Jehra Patrick of mnartists.org. An early idea to place artworks throughout Driessen’s living space — sort of like an estate sale — was scrapped, but Patrick said the artists were inspired both by TuckUnder Projects’ Midwestern suburban aesthetic, in general, and some of Driessen’s maritime-themed décor, in particular. (An interest in ships and naval iconography was inherited from his father, a Navy pilot, Driessen said.)

The work also responds to the act of opening up a home to not just friends and neighbors, but complete strangers.

“This is a pretty intimate gesture to invite someone into your home,” Patrick said.

Stulen said small paintings by Andy Messerschmidt, each about the size of an LP cover, and Jason Pearson’s riff on some classic Farrah Fawcett cheesecake just feel “at home” in the space.

“It’s still the garage of somebody’s house, and there’s really no getting around it,” Stulen said. “… But then you walk two feet outside the gallery and you’re in Pete’s raspberry patch.”