Hierarchy art space opening in Adams Morgan

Pop-up pros No Kings Collective have teamed up with the owners of Napoleon for Hierarchy, a new art and exhibition space in Adams Morgan opening Saturday, Feb. 8.


Decoy's exhibition at Hierarchy. (Maura Judkis/The Post)

You might remember the basement space as the former Grogan's Pub. Hierarchy has two distinct exhibition spaces, a long black bar, and a DJ station. But don't get the wrong idea -- Peter Chang and Brandon Hill of No Kings Collective say the space will be driven by its programming, not its drinks.

"We didn't want people to think, 'They're just opening a bar, not an art space,'" Chang said.

Hill, who is an artist, saw it from a different point of view: "I've been in projects where your (art) is just unimportant wallpaper," he said -- and he'll work to ensure that Hierarchy's artists never feel that way. Part of their challenge, he said, is drawing audiences to the space to look at art throughout a show's duration -- not just for the opening.

The group has previously collaborated with Omar Popal, whose family owns Napoleon and Cafe Bonaparte, on Malmaison, the event space and restaurant on Water Street in Georgetown. Together, they've developed three months of programming at Hierarchy, beginning with exhibitions by pop-art painter Cory Oberndorfer and paintings and knitcraft from DECOY, which will be on display until March 3. Oberndorfer's show continues his series of popsicle and lollipop works inspired by childhood innocence; Decoy's "North West" pays homage to the childrens' classes she teaches. She'll also be selling her bows series of crafts. You can RSVP for Saturday's 7 p.m. opening, which is free, on Eventbrite.

The space's regular hours will be Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m., with event programming in the evenings. Future programs include a pecha kucha night and, on Valentine's Day, a French short film festival with complimentary champagne and macarons. The group has planned three months of programming so far, with shows lasting three to four weeks each -- and while they didn't want to reveal details about their next exhibition, Chang says it will be an installation artist who will completely transform the space.

With traditional galleries closing across the city, the pop-up or multi-purpose model -- where a space pays its rent through a combination of art sale commissions, food and beverage sales, and space rental -- is becoming more common (see: VeraCruz, the Dunes). No Kings Collective's partnership with Popal might continue after the three months of programming conclude, or they might move along to another project.

"A gallery can be intimidating," Hill said. "We're trying to cater to the novice."

Hierarchy, 1841 Columbia Rd. NW. Opens Feb. 8.


Cory Oberndorfer's work on display at Hierarchy. (Maura Judkis/The Post)
Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts for the Weekend section and Going Out Guide.
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