The Vanishing Icons of Metropolitan Avenue: A History of Williamsburg’s Handmade Shop Signs from the 1980s

Stanley Wisniewolski with Work

Not so long ago, a number of retro, sculptural shop signs lent a distinctive flavor to the area just east of the BQE in Williamsburg, among them a giant paintbrush, a diamond ring and the hammer that’s still outside Crest Hardware on Metropolitan Avenue. Neighborhood resident and writer Karen Hudes looks into the story behind the signs, about 75 of which were crafted 30 years ago by an artist named Stanley Wisniewolski.

At the exhibit, photos from the city’s Municipal Archives bring to light Williamsburg’s streetscape in the ’80s, which was rich in oversized coffee cups, handbags and cows’ heads made out of Styrofoam marking each storefront. See a collection of Wisniewolski’s original signs on display, find out why the smoke shop installation caused such a stir, and take in the vision of one of the neighborhood’s pioneering graphic designers (who certainly wouldn’t be the last).

Opening party at The City Reliquary’s
April THurd THursday: April 15th, 2010 @ 7 PM
$3 Brooklyn Brewery beers
Exhibit runs through mid-July.

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