Ben Blount: Eyes Wide Shut

MCBA Outlook Gallery
On view January 11, 2021–March 28, 2021

viewable from the street.
(open book is currently closed to the public.)

Eyes Wide Shut is an examination of our relationship to white supremacy in the United States. It’s ubiquitous, yet unseen. Both monumental and myth. Are we safe or are we surrounded? —Ben Blount

Ben Blount is an artist, designer, and printer interested in notions of American identity, race, and culture. His work draws on a common cultural language of objects, stories, stereotypes, and experiences as a starting point to draw attention to the disparities between what we see and how we are seen. With a background in advertising and graphic design, his work tends to be message-based and typographic. He seeks to re-present implicit and explicit ideas of race in a way that invites/provokes a conversation with the viewer.

Ben’s favorite medium is ink on paper. Typically his work takes the form of letterpress printed books, broadsides, and ephemera, but has grown to include installation and other forms as dictated by the content. He is interested in current events, unearthed histories, cultural slang, unspoken rules, and dirty laundry. He places his work in the tradition of a tragicomic hope that has been expressed through the history of black art and music. Truth tellers in all areas of popular culture inspire his work—from writers and artists to comedians and emcees.

Read more about Eyes Wide Shut, including Ben’s process and intent, at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine,  MinnPost, and Minnesota Monthly.

A collection of Ben’s prints is available for sale in our online Shop.

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Ben Blount is a Detroit-born artist, designer and letterpress printer who loves books, type, and putting ink on paper. His work often explores questions of race and identity and the stories we tell ourselves about living in America. Ben is a believer in the power of the printed word and shares his passion for print and design by speaking to students and educators around the country and as a board member of Artists Book House and Fine Press Book Association. His artists’ books and prints are included in prominent collections including The Newberry Library and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ben currently prints out of MAKE, his storefront studio in Evanston, Illinois.