‘The Edge of Un-Pretty’ art show opening at Maxwell’s in Hoboken


(L-R, back row) Artists Nena Tahil, Andrea McKenna, Andrea Kroenig, Colleen Blackard, Nikki Helvey & Luis Alves. (front) Curator Oscar A. Laluyan

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The next time you walk down the street and see a stream of water flowing down the sidewalk, mixed with dirt and oil and carrying urban debris, take a moment before writing it off as mere sludge to see the beauty behind the ugly.

In a new group art show at Maxwell’s, “The Edge of Un-Pretty,” guest curator Oscar Laluyan hopes to show art lovers a few unconventionally alluring pieces by eight artists from Hoboken, Jersey City and beyond.

It all started with a simple request from Maxwell’s (“Don’t make it too pretty”) and a photo by Max Noy from a mattress factory. “When I saw this particular photo, it encapsulated this whole ‘Weird but still pretty to look at’ deal,” said Laluyan, adding that he has previously seen the theme explored while writing about Manhattan art for ARTFUSE.

“In French, they have a term, ‘une-jolie-laide’ which roughly translates into ‘ugly beautiful.’ It refers to a woman who is not conventionally beautiful in the physical sense but has an alluring quality that you cannot ignore,” said the Jersey City resident. “A lot of the work in the show portrays that. They don’t represent what’s ideal or perfect . . . and show that you can find beauty in any shape, form or setting.”

Some highlights include hard-edged, imperfect spray paint portraits by Hobokenite Andrea Kroenig; an unconventional cowboy who is anything but a Marlboro Man by ballpoint pen artist Colleen Blackard; and strange, futuristic paintings of women ripped from science-fiction novels by Jersey City’s Andrea McKenna.

He hopes the exhibit shows people that beauty has multiple definitions.

“People need to slow down to see the beauty in the mundane and everyday,” he said. “I think people can do that. I don’t think it’s exclusive to art people need to look for it in life and see the little details.

“Beauty is everywhere, it’s everything.”

“The Edge of Un-Pretty” opens Monday with a reception at 7 p.m. at Maxwell’s, 1039 Washington St., Hoboken. The show runs through Oct. 19. For more information, visit


More art installation views (Alves & Blackard)

More art installation views (Alves & Blackard)