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First Museum Survey of Mark Bradford Extended

Two-Year Cross-Country Tour to Four Museum Follows

The Wexner Center has announced a two-month extension of its exhibition Mark Bradford, the first museum survey devoted to the work of one of the leading figures in contemporary art. The show, which opened May 8, will now be on view in the center’s galleries through October 10, 2010. Organized by Wexner Center curator Christopher Bedford, the exhibition features 45 works in a variety of media spanning the years 2000-2010, with an emphasis on his highly textured, multilayered paintings made with various kinds of papers, found materials, nylon string, caulking, and more.

Following its Wexner Center debut,
Mark Bradford will tour to the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston (November 19, 2010-March 13, 2011), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (May 28 September 18, 2011), the Dallas Museum of Art (October 16, 2011-January 15, 2012), and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (February 18-May 20, 2012).

Mark Bradford, discussing his painting Scorched Earth at the Wexner Center press preview in May Scorched Earth: Collection of Dennis and Debra Scholl

Wexner Center Director Sherri Geldin says, “The exhibition has received positive reviews from critics and the public alike, and we’re thrilled to be able to extend the show into the fall to take advantage of opportunities into the new academic year. Mark Bradford is among the most compelling and captivating artists working today. In precisely calibrated juxtapositions of message and medium, accretion and displacement, his work reveals time and again that the tensions between abstraction and representation continue to push the very possibilities of contemporary painting.”

Notes Bedford, “We’re pleased that the national tour dates will accommodate an extension of this show at the Wexner Center. We’re also proud to have been able to support the production of so much ambitious new work for this survey exhibition. In Mark’s case, placing heavy emphasis on the new in the context of an exhibition that also looks back at his work over the last 10 years is extremely important. It’s also the most accurate way to capture the emphasis he himself places on pushing his practice forward each time he enters the studio.”

A 2009 MacArthur Foundation “genius” award recipient, Bradford (b. 1961), based in Los Angeles, is best-known for large-scale abstract paintings made from a variety of collaged materials, including billboard paper, permanent-wave end papers, newsprint, carbon paper, and other papers layered together (or stripped apart) and then manipulated with nylon string, caulking, and sanding. Often incorporating references to the social conditions of a particular location, these works not only extend the possibilities of contemporary painting, they offer an unusual and highly individual examination of the economies (often defined by race, gender, and class) that structure urban society in the United States, and specifically in Leimert Park, the South Central Los Angeles neighborhood where the artist lived as a child and continues to maintain his studio.

In addition to providing a comprehensive account of Bradford’s career to date with an emphasis on his work as a painter, the show foregrounds new works created under the auspices of a Wexner Center Residency Award in Visual Arts. Among these new works is an environmental installation with sound entitled Pinocchio Is On Fire, a complex and multi-faceted piece featuring Nancy Wilson singing Tell Me the Truth; album covers; a radio component; and more. In addition, Bradford has created two new works related to Mithra, his monumental, ark-like public art project installed in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans for the Prospect.1 exhibition in 2008: a major new sculpture (titled Detail), which incorporates elements from Mithra, and a film titled Across Canal, which examines the conception, production, and reception of that work. Also commissioned for this show were a suite of new paintings and three “graphite drawings.”

The fully illustrated hardcover catalogue that accompanies the show is the most comprehensive treatment of Bradford’s work to date, and features essays by Christopher Bedford, Robert Storr, Richard Shiff, Katy Siegel, and Hilton Als, as well as two interviews with the artist by Carol S. Eliel and Hamza Walker. Available in the Wexner Center Store for $65, it is copublished by the Wexner Center and Yale University Press.

The Wexner Center, in partnership with Resource Interactive, has developed a groundbreaking educational microsite ( , referring to the title of one of the works in the show), which provides a rich online experience that allows the public to investigate Bradford’s process and background, and to examine select works in the exhibition. The site includes video and audio interview with Bradford, music, images, explanatory text, and more. The site was shortlisted for a Cyber Lion at the Cannes Lions 57th International Advertising Festival this year (read more:

A full slate of related events have been held in conjunction with the Mark Bradford exhibition, and the show has been incorporated into programs for teens, schools, and the general public. Additional resources and tours are listed below.

* Walk-in Tours led by docents, most Thursdays at 5 pm and most Saturdays at 1 pm (check for exceptions; free with gallery admission; Thursday evenings are free to all).

* Cell phone tours: Accessible anywhere from a cell phone and also posted online. They will feature the artist and the curator discussing specific works in the show. Click here as well for the tour:

* Super Sunday: October 3, 2010, featuring free activities for all ages related to the exhibition (1-5 pm).

Wexner Center for the Arts
The Ohio State University
1871 N. High St.
Columbus, OH 43210
614 292-3535

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