Tom Russotti is an artist and educator based in Brooklyn, NY. Tom’s work explores the aesthetic and performative nature of large cultural phenomena such as sports, signs, and organizations. Tom has performed and exhibited his work at at the Tate Modern Museum, The Phillips Collection, The New Museum, Kumu National Museum of Estonia, and The Brooklyn Historical Society.
His work has been featured by The New York Times, Good Morning America, Wired, Vice Magazine, the BBC, Estonian National Television, and has also organized performances for both Japanese and Lithuanian National Television. Tom received a BA in history from Stanford University and received his M.F.A. from Rutgers University.
The photographic exhibition “Brooklyn Storefronts and Signs” offers viewers the opportunity to examine the variety of unusual emblems, icons, images, advertisements, slogans and sayings that line the avenues and side streets of this celebrated borough. Although inhabitants of the city pass by these facades and signs everyday, we rarely have reason or opportunity to stop and grow conscious of their aesthetic and cultural value, their humor and idiosyncratic styles. Brooklyn-based photographer Tom Russotti has been taking note of these colorful signs and storefronts since 1999 when he began documenting what he recognized as their often hilarious and uncommonly original designs. His early enjoyment of their humor evolved into a nuanced sense of their aesthetic beauty, unique language and logos, and the vast array of cultural references that seemed to coexist on single city blocks. The archive which began as a personal project quickly grew into a community-conscious effort to record these highly substantial, but often overlooked cultural artifacts. The urban transformation that continues to alter the look and feel of Brooklyn has inevitably had its impact on the signs and storefronts Russotti documents; these photographs preserve a visual trace of what has, in many cases, been torn down and discarded (the signs of course represent the businesses and communities that designed them in the first place). Rather than a lament of what is lost, however, Russotti intends this exhibition to be an original demonstration of the vitality and wit this borough has to offer. - Monika Gehlawat
EXCLUSIVE ARTWORK BY TOM RUSSOTTI