An enterprising duo trades cocktails for fine art.
Sometimes super badass ideas come from Super Bad Ass art shows. Tired of serving cheap hooch at their openings, Ed and Rachel Marszewski, owners of the Bridgeport gallery and event space Co-Prosperity Sphere, tapped doll manufacturer and one-time bartender Graham Hogan and his photographer boyfriend Joe Rynkiewicz to serve cocktails at their Super Bad Ass Exhibition, part of last November’s Select Media Festival. But how would they sell booze to gallerygoers without a liquor license? “We came to the conclusion that anything we made at the end of the night we’d use to buy a piece of art,” Hogan says.
One year later, the couple have served hundreds of homemade cocktails, including signature concoctions such as the High Tea with Earl Grey–infused vodka and cream soda. The cocktails, which sell for a $3 donation, are served at more than 15 openings around town, including venues such as East Bank Records and the Family Room.
The duo have constructed a six-foot-long movable bar, christened it Hornswaggler Arts (check them out on Facebook) and used the booze money to buy 23 pieces for their collection, including works by Jason Lazarus, Stephen Eichhorn and Jennifer Ray. Early next year they’ll showcase their acquired works at an exhibition party at Co-Prosperity Sphere, where they also plan to sell a catalog featuring the works they’ve acquired paired with recipes for some of their most popular drinks.
Meanwhile, they’re working with a lawyer to assess the legality of their business, which they hope to keep growing. “This is everything I love in life,” Hogan says. “It’s schmoozing, it’s art and it’s booze. That’s a perfect combination.”