The Waterfront Most Wanted holds its grand opening tomorrow, in a vast, 5,500-square-foot space right next to The Gap.
The grand-opening exhibit, from 10 a.m.-9 p.m., will feature artwork by Sauer and several other local artists, including Darrell Kinsel, William Wright, Sam Thorp, Jason Woolslare and Nina Sauer (Jason’s spouse). Attractions will include free beer samples from nearby Rock Bottom Brewery for those 21 and over.
Sauer, reached today by phone, says he’s excited about the chance to find new audiences.
Indeed, the new location — a former Hollister store in close proximity to Waterfront tenants like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Dave & Buster’s, Old Navy and Bed Bath & Beyond — is likely to draw a rather different crowd from the one that frequents Penn Avenue’s Unblurred gallery crawls, which include Sauer’s seven-year-old gallery.
So Sauer is stocking the frontmost of its three rooms with his own more traditional work — landscapes and such that he calls “my travel paintings.”
The middle room will house Bizarre! Bazaar!, an installation by Dr. Morose & Miss Macabre’s House of Oddities featuring dark-humored art by Macabre Noir, Nick Noir and others.
The back room will contain edgier work by Sauer and others.
The new space is probably three times the size of his original location, even if you include the funky, rec-roomy basement, with its curious bathroom. But Sauer — an Army veteran and former demolition-derby driver — says he’ll have no trouble filling it: A prolific painter, he says his own back catalog (including works that sometimes incorporate car parts) is nearly enough to fill the space all by itself.
Meanwhile, Sauer says that programming at the original Most Wanted location, including its new artist-residency program, will continue as before.
A larger question might be how a storefront gallery that leans toward underground art ended up in such a big space in a mass-market retail district — and how Sauer can afford such a space.
The answer seems to lie with M&J Wilkow and BIG USA Shopping Centers, the firms that in 2012 jointly acquired most of the Waterfront development from DDR Corp.
“The Waterfront, under new ownership and management, contacted MWFA as a part of their community outreach plan to partner with independent artists, musicians, and organizations,” says Nina Sauer via email.
While Jason Sauer says Most Wanted has a lease at the Waterfront, he declines to discuss its terms. But he sounds like he wants to do his best to bring something new to the Waterfront while still fitting in.
“We’re gonna have regular hours there,” he says proudly, “just like The Gap.”