San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts open Mark Bradford exhibition

. February 20, 2012 . 0 Comments

On view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) from February 18 through June 17, 2012, and at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) from February 18 through May 27, 2012, in its only West Coast presentation, Mark Bradford is the first major museum survey of paintings, sculptures, and multimedia works by this leading figure in contemporary American art.

Bradford (b. 1961)—a Los Angeles–based artist and MacArthur Foundation “genius” award recipient—works in a variety of media but is best known for his often enormously scaled collages on canvas, which are akin to abstract paintings. Gathering carefully chosen found materials with “built-in history,”

as the artist says, Bradford engages in a complex artistic process that involves both creation and destruction. His intricately made, fractured works often address pressing political issues and the media’s influence on contemporary society while cataloguing cultural change and the artist’s personal responses to societal conditions.

Bradford’s early works incorporate permanent-wave end papers, an influence from his family’s beauty parlor in South Central Los Angeles. Later works employ various collaged materials typically salvaged from the street—billboard paper, newsprint, carbon paper, wrapping paper—that the artist layers together or strips apart, and then dramatically manipulates with nylon string, caulking, and sanding.

While striking in its formal beauty and subtle craft, Bradford’s art also evokes allusions to the urban landscape, most specifically the Leimert Park neighborhood of Los Angeles where Bradford lived as a child and still maintains his studio. His abstract paintings probe the structures of urban society often defined by race, gender, and class. As a result, they resonate with complex social and economic meaning.

Organized by curator Christopher Bedford for Wexner Center for the Arts, this most comprehensive account of Bradford’s career to date will open in San Francisco as a co-presentation installed at two neighboring venues, offering more than 50 works spanning 2000 to 2010. The exhibition will be overseen at SFMOMA by Gary Garrels, Elise S. Haas Senior Curator of Painting and Sculpture; and at YBCA by Director of Visual Arts Betti-Sue Hertz. – www.sfmoma.org

Category: Fine Art

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