Reflecting on the Modern Block Print at “Brooklyn Block Party”

I finally got to see Ad Hoc’s latest and greatest show,  “Brooklyn Block Party,” on its last weekend and I was pretty impressed with the way that it was arranged. Juxtaposing the plates with the resulting pieces was an original way to present work often seen on the street (though some of the artists on display, particularly the older ones, are not street artists) and it was an interesting way to restore the “fine art”-ness of work that doesn’t really allow for much reflection on the street.

In the gallery, the block/print arrangement made the details easy to enjoy. There was a curious trend of printing on fabric (both Swoon and Gaia do so here) but I didn’t think it did much to elevate the viewing experience of the imagery and actually dulled some of the details, giving the work a utilitarian feel–which I’m not against and, in fact, I’m rather intrigued by.

The show also offers a sense of history for the contemporary Brooklyn wheatpaste. Did you know that Richard Mock taught Dennis Mcnett, Mike Houston and Martin Mazorra, who in turn taught Swoon at Pratt, who influenced Elbowtoe and Gaia and Imminent Disaster, who all influenced c.damage in some way…pretty interesting if you ask me and not exactly on the wall texts but it was all explained to me by gallery director (thanks Andrew!).

I’ll be writing more about the artistic genealogy involved in this contemporary rebirth of the block print in a future post here or in my ArtCal column “Re:Public”…so stay tuned.

Until then, here are some views of the show.


Judith Supine & Gaia
Gaia (and Judith Supine on the far left)

Imminent Disaster
Imminent Disaster

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