When art fans in New York are looking for cutting edge art, they need look no further than Ad Hoc Art in Brooklyn. Ad Hoc Art shows some of the best new street art and “low brow” art for not too much money. Their upcoming show, The Brooklyn Block Party, has work from 11 lino-block cutting artists including Swoon, Imminent Disaster, Elbowtoe, Judith Supine, and Gaia, and their new project room has upcoming shows from some of my favorite artists, C215 and Know Hope.
Ad Hoc Art is also the home of Peripheral Media Projects, probably two the most anti-authoritarian street artists working today.
Andrew Michael Ford is the director at Ad Hoc Art, and he’s been kind enough to answer a few questions about the gallery.
RJ: What is Ad Hoc Art, and how is it different from other galleries?
Ford: Ad Hoc Art is a gallery which is dedicated to showing work that is often marginalized by the larger New York art scene. We focus on the areas of street art, pop surrealism, lowbrow, illustration, comic book, tattoo, print-making, as well as the larger history of underground art, activism, and graffiti. These are the things that set us apart from other galleries.
RJ: How did you get involved at Ad Hoc?
Ford: In 2007 I was making plans to open my own gallery near the end of 2008. A good friend and mentor of mine knew of a gallery space which was already doing great things and was looking for a director/curator to run it. Our tastes in art matched up pretty well and we were both seriously dedicated to supporting the above movements in art. It was a perfect fit and I came on board in November of 2007 as the new director. It has been one year since I got here and I guess all I can say is so far, so good!
RJ: Shows at Ad Hoc Art have a rather eclectic selection of artists, from Skewville and Eine to Jenn Porreca and Amy Crehore. What makes an artist an “Ad Hoc artist?”
Ford: As stated above, we really look for artists who are marginalized by the “high brow” art world. So whether it’s the street art of Know Hope or the pop surrealism of Ewelina Ferruso, it has a home at Ad Hoc Art.
RJ: Why do you think people are drawn to low brow art and “street art?”
Ford: I think that low brow art and street art have the ability to instantly relate to the viewer. That seems to be what people are looking for these days. I myself love art that I can feel. I don’t like reading 20 page artists statements which “explain” the work. The work should speak for itself when you look at it, for better or worse.
RJ: Who are some up and coming New York street artists that more people should know about?
Ford: I think there are some NYC street artists who have been doing stuff for a while who haven’t gotten enough props. Robots Will Kill do amazing mural work. Stikman makes some of the most clever work out there today. Of course Ellis G (or The Shadow Man, as the kids call him) has been rocking for years with his chalk outlines of every shadow he can get his hands on in the streets of NYC and beyond. Don’t forget the strong efforts of ELC, c.damage, Dark Clouds, Peru Ana Ana Peru, Thundercut and many others you may not know but should start researching on flickr.com immediately.
RJ: What was the inspiration behind your next show, the “Brooklyn Block Party?”
Ford: One day Garrison Buxton, the co-founder/owner of Ad Hoc Art, was showing me the original hand cut blocks of an artist named Richard Mock, who has recently passed away. It turned out he had been a major influence on guys like Mike Houston and Martin Mazorra (from Cannon Ball Press) and McMutt aka Dennis McNett. These people in turn has worked with and inspired people like Swoon who in turn inspired people like Imminent Disaster and Gaia. I saw this beautiful lineage of block cutters and street art and knew there was something important that needed to be investigated. I began to speak to several of the artists in the show and decided that I wanted to put them all together in one room, showing their original hand cut blocks along side the prints pulled from the blocks. I think there has been a lot of block prints used in the recent history of street art and it’s interesting when you see where it all comes from. Also, I think the original blocks, once inked and printed, are so beautiful. It’s a shame we only see the prints. Now people will get to see the stuff that usually ends up stored in someone’s studio. To me it’s a very unique exhibition which needed to happen.
RJ: Any other shows coming up at Ad Hoc?
Ford: Well, C215 will be in our new Project Room the same month as the Block show. After that we are headed to Los Angeles, where we will curate “From The Streets of Brooklyn”, the largest survey ever done (that I know of) of Brooklyn street art and graffiti, which will take place Jan 9th at Thinkspace Gallery (almost 50 artists!). After that we head back to Brooklyn to start off our 2009 schedule with Dain in the front gallery and Know Hope in the Project Room on January 16th. If you go to the web site you can see our entire 2009 schedule, which includes shows by Cycle, Crash & Daze, Gaia, Imminent Disaster, Chris Stain, Armsrock, Logan Hicks and many more!