Off-Brand Exhibition at A.R.T.

Off-Brand, a group show of Queens artists, opened on Saturday, December 10, at A.R.T. (Art Retail Therapy) store on 84-26 37th Ave in Jackson Heights. The exhibit ran through Saturday, January 28, 2023 and featured the work of 27 local artists. The show was curated by JHAT in partnership with local art store and community art space, A.R.T. The JHAT team included Linda Ganjian, Paul Krause, Deborah Wasserman, and Stephanie Beck.

The December 10 opening featured a live performance by John Bjerklie, a.k.a. “BigHat.” This character, modeled after the iconic plein air artist, squared off with visitors to paint each other’s portraits in a mock studio installation constructed of easels, pallets, and drop cloths.

Off-Brand featured artworks integrated into the retail environment. Shoppers encountered a variety of paintings, drawings, sculptures and installations as they browsed the store’s offerings. Work was suspended from the ceiling, hung above displays of paints, or sat on shelves next to bottles of ink. More than showing examples of how certain art supplies have been put to use, the show aimed to create a sense of surprise and delight in a non-traditional gallery setting. See images below or on JHAT’s IG page.

The goal of Off-Brand was to celebrate the local creative community and rally around a newly-opened small business. (The exhibition also marked the one year anniversary of A.R.T., which opened in December 2021.)

Participating artists included: Marina Kappos, Carla Lobmier, Laura Fayer, John Bjerklie, Helen Quinn, Ivana Larrosa, Suran Michelle Song, Norma Markley, Sandra Mack-Valencia, Pierre Obando, Erick Teran, Jesse Lambert, Carlo Nieva, Damaris Chamorro, Jonathan Feldschuh, Will Kaplan, Jennifer Williams, Stephanie D. Beck, Christen Clifford, Evie McKenna, Derick Melander, Nitin Mukul, Eung Ho Park, Mary Valverde, Linda Ganjian, Deborah Wasserman, and Paul Krause.

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