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19 Mar 2020

Dialogue + Studio: Hand Painting Workshop (Postponed)

Teaching artist David Barnett, cofounder of Brooklyn-based design studio Noble Signs, will discuss the vanishing art of hand-painted signs in New York City, followed by a hand-painting workshop using both freehand and transfer techniques found in the typographical works featured in American Perspectives.  Mac Pohanka will assist.

The Dialogue + Studio Workshop series offers participants opportunities to gain insight into and engage with self-taught art, past and present, at a deep level. Focused discussions about select themes, techniques, and materials featured in current exhibitions couple with related expert-led hands-on workshops.


David Barnett (b. 1986, New York City) is a multi-disciplinary graphic artist. Since 2013, he has been the co-owner and creative director for Noble Signs, a design studio based in Brooklyn that focuses on hand-painted and handmade signage. Graduating in 2008 from Grinnell College with a BA in Religious Studies/East Asian Studies, Barnett returned to New York where he worked as a graphic designer for Soft Skull Press and Mirko Ilic Studio. In 2010, he became art director of Bluroc Records, designing and illustrating album covers including the iconic Pilot Talk trilogy for the rapper Curren$y. In 2015, as a designer with Noble Signs, he has worked with clients including Pentagram, Gensler, the Art Students League, Whitney Museum, Lawrence Wiener, Yoko Ono, Afropunk, BMW/Mini, Opening Ceremony, Marlow & Sons, and more. He has been featured in The New York Times, T Magazine, Brooklyn Magazine, Complex Magazine, Mass Appeal, The Daily News, among other publications.

Mac Pohanka (b. 1986, Northampton, MA) is a gilder, fabricator and designer. Since 2013, he has been the co-owner of Noble Signs. He started his work in painted finishes and fabrication in high school, working for his father John Pohanka, a fine furniture maker in New England. Graduating in 2008 from Grinnell College with a BA in American Studies, Pohanka moved to New York and studied gilding at the decorative hardware studio Van Gregory and Norton. Soon after he began working as a production designer and prop fabricator in film. During this time he produced work for Bjork, Encyclopedia Picture, IKEA, Fisher Price and many others. Since founding Noble Signs he has designed and built storefronts and conceptual signage for a wide variety of clients nationally and internationally.

Image: S. D. Plum Tavern Sign; artist unidentified; probably Meriden, Connecticut; 1813; paint on pine with iron; 51 x 34 x 3 in.; Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York, gift of Ralph Esmerian. Photo by John Bigelow Taylor.

5:30 pm–8:30 pm

$25 members, students, artists, seniors; $30 general public