No Kings Collective has been consistently popping up around DC for years. Peter Chang and Brandon Hill are the duo behind the collective, which they describe as serving “a community of area artists, businesses, and city organizations through social networking events, exhibits, and special projects.” Their biggest splash? 2011’s flash-art “happening” Submerge – which brought over a dozen artists to a group exhibition. It created such a sensation that the duo repeated the event the following year.
Just three years after ‘Submerge’ the pair opened their permanent home, Hierarchy in early February of this year. The brightly lit Adams Morgan space picks up on all the gallery trends of late – white walls, concrete floors and an exposed ceiling. Peter Chang of No Kings describes Hierarchy as “an ever-evolving, chameleon exhibition space featuring monthly artist exhibitions and weekly creative programming.”
A joint show from DECOY and Cory Oberdorder kicked Hierarchy off, and in mid-March Kelly Towles put on his first solo show in eight years at the space. His spiky, fantastical murals depict a world inspired by Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. Chang and Hill plan for a mix of local exhibiting artists “grounded in a variety of mediums” but are also looking to solicit upcoming national and international artists to the mix. Mathew Curran’s Shred is up next.
No Kings has worked with the Popal family, owners of sleek restaurants/third places Café Bonaparte, Napolean and Malmaison. Hill and Chang put on one of their classic pop-up exhibitions for the Water Street Project, which the Popals made permanent as Malmaison. That relationship has ensured that Hierarchy can support No Kings’ particular brand of purveying, which brings trendy, largely street art-inspired work by emerging artists to settings typically occupied by in-the-know partiers looking for a night out – not solely collectors or traditional aficionados.
“We wanted to create a project free of the politics and pitfalls of traditional gallery spaces,” says Chang. “Hierarchy is a space of total creative freedom for us, the Popal family, and most importantly for the exhibiting artists.” He continues, “We started No Kings Collective to give a voice and a platform to emerging artists, but we always had to rely on temporary pop-up spaces to do so. With Hierarchy, we can dream bigger than ever before.”