New exhibit to take in this weekend

October 24, 2012 by  

Bellerose residents looking for an exciting outing this weekend can find it in nearby Long Island City.

The Diego Salazar Art Gallery is hosting a memorial exhibit that opens tomorrow, October 25, and features the works of longtime Long Island City resident Arthur Hammer.

Hammer, who died this past March at age 79 after more than two decades of struggling with prostate cancer, was well known as a passionate portrait artist and neighborhood raconteur. The artist’s daughter, Deirdre Hammer, describes her father in a number of ways, including:

“the nutty artist guy in the community.

“a force to be reckoned with.

“the quintessential life of the party.”

Though he never took an art lesson, he was always learning about his craft. After an early career working as an actor, Hammer left the profession and decided to devote himself to painting, taking stints in cab driving and art dealing before finally owning his own gallery. He would paint every day by the time the mid-1990s had arrived.

Elinore Schnurr, Hammer’s friend and former colleague, is curator for the exhibit. She describes his style as both nonrealistic and personal, saying:

“Sometimes, although he catches the dynamic of a person, it doesn’t always entirely look just like them.”

Deirdre notes the key to her father’s success at selling his work was his personality. He was outgoing and gregarious – a man who felt equally at home talking to art patrons at a cocktail party or stopping in to shoot the breeze with the owner of the local deli or print company.

The exhibition runs until December 1 at the gallery.