In 1961, after graduating in classics from Yale University, Alexander retuned to his native Los Angeles and involved himself in the city's burgeoning art world, meeting artists Joe Goode, Ed Moses, Bob Irwin and Ed Ruscha, among others. In 1965 he accepted a job at Marlborough Gallery and moved to New York. He was given responsibility for the gallery's print inventory, both modern master and contemporary, and gained his first real exposure to prints. He later managed the New York office to the London-based Editions Alecto where he coordinated his first publishing project, Larry Zox's series of six screenprints, Diamond Girls. By the late 1960's American print publishing was thriving, but Editions Alecto was reducing its scope and Alexander decided to begin publishing on his own.
In November of 1968 he and his wife, Carolyn, opened Brooke Alexander, Inc, in a storefront on East 68th Street. They began publishing slowly. One of their first projects, Richard Artschwager's set of multiples, Locations, 1969, evidences Alexander's venturesome eye and collaborative approach to publishing. Struck by an exhibition of the artist's formica, furniture-like sculpture at Leo Castelli Gallery, Alexander determined to invite Artschwager to make a multiple edition of his objects. The innovative six-part piece contains the artist's signature form, rounded rectangles that he called "blps" made of horsehair, Plexiglas, wood and pieces of mirror that can be installed in any configuration in any space. Locations was Artschwager's first multiple and signaled the beginning of a fascinating body of projects by the artist and publisher. Three years later Alexander published one of Artschwager's more haunting prints, the screenprint Interiors. Its shadowy, gray printing of a repeated room contributes a murky, almost sinister, sense to the elegant surroundings.
The Alexanders moved the gallery twice in the next few years and by 1972 had their first proper exhibition space, at 26 East 78th Street. One of the early exhibitions there was of their publications entitled "Hand Colored Prints," 1973, in which 26 artists created editions, for the most part, black and white prints to which they added watercolor, ink or crayon. Alexander described the contemporary print world at the time as having reached a "static point". In the hopes of jumpstarting the field again, he decided to look back to a different tradition, one that included Ensor, Gauguin and Degas. Inviting a wide range of artists to participate guaranteed a variety of responses, from the humorous watercolor figures outlines in etching of Red Groom's 45 Characters to the punched holes and minimal pencil line of Richard Tuttle's In Praise of Economic Determinism. Alexander's early and abiding interest in painterly realism has consistently inspired his publishing. After seeing the exhibition "Aspects of a New Realism" at the Milwaukee Art Center in 1969 he decided to publish a portfolio representing this aesthetic idea. Six New York Artists, published in 1969, included Jack Beal, John Clem Clarke, Alex Katz, Malcolm Morley, Philip Pearlstein and Bob Stanley. Alexander continued to work with several of these artists after this early venture. The portfolio began a long and fertile relationship with Alex Katz which whom he collaborated to create over 40 editions, most notably the illustrated book Face of the Poet, containing 14 color aquatints and published in 1978. The book evolved after Alexander saw a series of cut-outs of several poets in Katz's studio. Katz was very involved with the St. Mark's Poetry Project and knew these poets personally. Alexander immediately recognized the potential for a book with poems accompanying the portraits. In the resulting aquatints, Katz's austere heads float on the large white page, his stylized forms bringing an abstract quality to the heightened realism.