Mark Bradford the 2017 representative for the United States at the Venice Biennale will be collaborating with the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University and the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) on the presentation of next year’s event. The two institutions will work in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
The U.S. Pavilion is being commissioned by BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director Christopher Bedford and co-curated by Bedford and Katy Siegel. Bedford served as director of Brandeis’ Rose Art Museum until August 1 and was appointed the director of BMA effective August 15. Bedford, who is also Adjunct Professor of the Practice in Fine Arts at Brandeis, will oversee the Biennale collaboration for the Rose Art Museum and The Baltimore Museum of Art. Siegel was recently appointed Senior Programming and Research Curator at the BMA and also serves as a professor at Stony Brook University.
“This wonderful collaboration enables us to dedicate the resources of two outstanding institutions in realising Mark’s installation and all of the programming that will flow from it that is an essential part of his practice,” noted Bedford. “Mark’s focus on under-represented urban communities and social justice align with the interests of both Brandeis and The Baltimore Museum of Art, so our working together with him to advance these goals will enhance the impact of this major new work.”
Based in Los Angeles, Mark Bradford’s sweeping canvases recapture mid-century American art’s capacity to conjure the sublime and evoke the deep feeling, while incorporating layers of social comment. In parallel with his work in the studio, Bradford maintains a social practice, anchored by his Los Angeles-based not-for-profit, Art + Practice, an educational platform that emphasises practical skills for foster youth and stresses the cultural importance of art within a larger social context. These equivalent commitments to a formal invention and social activism anchor Bradford’s contribution to culture at large, embodying his belief that contemporary artists can reinvent the world we share.
Mark Bradford was born in 1961 in Los Angeles, where he lives and works. He received a BFA (1995) and MFA (1997) from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia. Best known for his large-scale abstract paintings that examine the class-, race-, and gender-based economies that structure urban society in the United States, Bradford’s richly layered and collaged canvases represent a connection to the social world through materials. Bradford uses fragments of found posters, billboards, newsprint and custom printed paper to simultaneously engage with and advance the formal traditions of abstract painting.
Solo exhibitions include Scorched Earth at the Hammer Museum (2015), Sea Monsters at the Rose Art Museum (2014), Aspen Art Museum (2011), Maps and Manifests at Cincinnati Art Museum (2008), and Neither New Nor Correct at the Whitney Museum of American Art (2007). In 2009, Mark Bradford was the recipient of the MacArthur Foundation ‘Genius’ Award. In 2010, Mark Bradford, a large-scale survey of his work, was organized by Christopher Bedford and presented at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, before traveling to the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Dallas Museum of Art; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
His work has been widely exhibited and has been included in group shows at LACMA Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2014), Whitney Museum of American Art (2013), the 12th Istanbul Biennial (2011), Seoul Biennial (2010), the Carnegie International (2008), São Paulo Biennial (2006), and Whitney Biennial (2006).
The new work being created by Bradford will be on view at the U.S. Pavilion of the Venice Biennale from May 13 to November 26, 2017.