top of page

Richard Mock: A Retrospective in Print

November 4th, 2022 - December 31st, 2023

A collection of Richard Mock prints from 2002 loaned to us by Scott Pfaffman and The Wall Gallery in Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY.

WTC Under Attack, 2002

Hand-cut linoleum block print


Yikies, 2002

Hand-cut linoleum block print


GW, 2002

Hand-cut linoleum block print


Irony, 2002

Hand-cut linoleum block print


American Pre-Airs, 2002

Hand-cut linoleum block print


Bush Knew, 2002

Hand-cut linoleum block print


Homeland Security, 2002

Hand-cut linoleum block print


Reptilian CEO, 2002

Hand-cut linoleum block print


CIA FBI, 2002

Hand-cut linoleum block print


Failed Coup, 2002

Hand-cut linoleum block print


New American Still Life, 2002

Hand-cut linoleum block print


Military Tribunal Executes Justice, 2002

Hand-cut linoleum block print


Mock in Meadville

Essay by Claire Klima, Gallery Assistant

Richard Mock (1944-2006) was a painter, sculptor, and printmaker who drew critical acclaim for his political cartoons. Mock employs linoleum block carving for his editorial images in various publications from the 1980s until the early 2000s. His art resides in collections of numerous esteemed institutions, including the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C., the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Public Library in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and others nationally and internationally. Fifty-five newspapers featured his works through the Cartoonists & Writers Syndicate in New York City, including the op-ed pages for The New York Times under three different editors. He simultaneously retained relationships with anarchist publications such as Fifth Estate, Anarchy: A Journal of a Desire Armed, and UNITE. Many of Mock's 2002 works respond to the events of 9/11.

Scholars consider linoleum block carving the medium of revolutionaries. On linoleum block carving (or linocutting), Mock says,

The history of block prints [relates] to newspapers…it has always been very discerning and a very 'social advocate' type of medium, and continues to be that way. They go hand in hand. The black and white, this absolute kind of thing is great for making declaration. In addition, That's what it is. It's not tentative, and it's not nuance. It's about making a declaration.

The dialogues Mock participated in remain relevant; "...[he] repudiated American corporate greed, political partisanship, and racism…" akin to contemporary activists. The 2001 attack on the World Trade Center paved the way for increased government and military propaganda despite opposition to the then-current war in Afghanistan. Mock was among a generation of artists attempting to break through unprecedented noise and call on viewers to engage with media bombardment critically.

Mock's works, Bush Knew (2002) and G.W. (2002) caricaturize the former president. Bush Knew directly calls to conspiracy theories surrounding Bush family ties to oil companies in Saudi Arabia. G.W. is visible gambling, participating in the “shell game" (also known as the "cup and balls trick" or thimblerig), historically played by Americans with walnut shells. The game lends itself to fraudulence, and reports from the Cold War used the term to describe American military strategy. ock contradicts the overwhelming sentiment from news outlets claiming the tragedy to be a random attack worthy of increased war efforts.

The landscape for editorials has changed significantly since Mock's passing in 2006. t begs the question: how do these "declarations" live on in a global digital news cycle that churns more rapidly than anyone could have imagined? The New York Times averaged over 1 million print copies weekly from 2000-2006 compared to 343 thousand in 2021 but currently retains over 5 million monthly paid subscribers to their digital edition. he new formats host broader audiences who consume media more rapidly. As readership transitions, news outlets expedite articles and their associated artworks at a pace even linocutting struggles to meet.

Nonetheless, printmaking birthed graphic design, and its influence persists within the visual languages of logos, fonts, emojis, GIFs, and so on. One perspective realizes prints from bona fide printmakers are more valuable than ever; maybe Mock and other printmakers foresaw this. Introducing Mock's work to rural Pennsylvania provides a unique opportunity for Meadville to relate his commentary to current, local dialogues.





Bibliography


Hatton, Joyce. The Works of Artist Richard Mock." Essay. n Hardlines: Social Commentary

Linocuts Created by Children, 6–6. Fifty-five argo, ND: Plains Art Museum, 2000.

Pratt, Claudia M. "Foreword and Acknowledgements." Foreword. In Hardlines: Social

Commentary Linocuts Created by Children, 4–4. Fargo, ND: Plains Art Museum, 2000.

Polistena, Joyce C. "Exhibition Richard Mock: The Cutting Edge." Richard Mock: The Cutting

Edge. Kentler International Drawing Space, June 12, 2021.

https://www.kentlergallery.org/Detail/exhibitions/484.

"Shell Game Definition & Meaning." Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster. Accessed

November 1, 2022. https://www.merriam-

webster.com/dictionary/shell%20game#synonyms.

Vranich, Mick, and Sherry Hendrick. "Richard Mock's Epic Vision - Issue 373, Fall 2006 -

Fifth Estate Magazine." Richard Mock's Epic Vision - Issue 373, Fall 2006 - Fifth Estate Magazine. Fifth Estate, 2006. https://www.fifthestate.org/archive/373-fall-2006/richard-mocks-epic-vision/.

Watson, Amy. "New York Times - Weekday Circulation 2021." Statista, June 21, 2022.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/273503/average-paid-weekday-circulation-of-the-new-york-times/.

Wilson, George C. "Fresh Challenge Voiced to Missile' Shell Game'." The Washington Post.

WP Company, July 24, 1978. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1978/07/24/fresh-challenge-voiced-to-missile-shell-game/7b2f8ae3-0109-43e3-a6bd-2bc04c56f6c8/.




Commentaires


bottom of page