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Mark Bradford Featured in First Museum Survey

Mark Bradford Featured in First Museum Survey

Wed, Apr 28, 2010

New Works Developed as Part of Residency

Catalogue, Microsite Accompany Show

Two-Year Cross-Country Tour to Follow Columbus Debut


Columbus, OH—The Wexner Center will premiere its exhibition Mark Bradford, the first museum survey devoted to the work of Los Angeles–based artist—one of the leading figures in contemporary art—from May 8 to August 15, 2010. Organized by Wexner Center curator Christopher Bedford, the exhibition features more than 50 works in a variety of media spanning the years 2000–2010. Following its presentation in Columbus, the show will travel to four major venues in the U.S.

A 2009 MacArthur Foundation “genius” award recipient, Bradford (b. 1961) 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 will foreground 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, which examines key moments in the history of the black community in Los Angeles from the early 1980s to the present (with cultural references that include the rise of HIV and crack cocaine during the 1980s, gangster rap, and mega-churches, along with aspects of the artist’s own biography). In addition, Bradford is creating 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 are an ambitious suite of paintings and four “graphite drawings.”

Notes Christopher Bedford, the exhibition’s curator, “We’re pleased to have been able to support the production of so much ambitious new work for this survey exhibition. In Mark’s case specifically, 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.”

Wexner Center Director Sherri Geldin says, “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.”


Following its Wexner Center debut, this exhibition will tour to the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston (November 19, 2010–March 13, 2011), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (June–September 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).



The fully illustrated catalogue that accompanies the show will be the most comprehensive treatment of Bradford’s work to date, featuring 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. 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.


A full slate of related events will be held in conjunction with the Mark Bradford exhibition. In addition to the events and initiatives listed below and the microsite listed above, a teacher workshop called Hip-Hop in the Classroom will be held June 9–11, and all of the Wexner Center’s Summer Kids and Teen Arts Fusion workshops will feature tours of the exhibition and discussions of the artist’s work. High school students participating in the center’s annual Pages art and literacy program will also visit the exhibition as one of their three major art experiences of the year.

Mark Bradford and artist Aminah Robinson in conversation: Monday, May 3 at 7 pm in the Wexner Center’s Mershon Auditorium. Moderated by Wexner Center Director Sherri Geldin. Streamed live. Free.

Media Preview: Friday, May 7, 10 am–noon (

Exhibition Preview for Members: Friday, May 7, 8–11 pm

Super Sunday: May 16, 12–5 pm: Free admission plus hands-on activities related to the exhibition. For all ages.

Double Take: May 26 at 12:30 pm: Ohio State faculty Laura Lisbon and Philip Armstrong on Mark Bradford (free).

Walk-in Tours led by docents. Thursdays at 5 pm and Saturdays at 1 pm (free with gallery admission).

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.

Gallery Guide: Free; available in the galleries.


VISITOR INFORMATION: Mark Bradford is on view May 8 through August 15 at the Wexner Center for the Arts, 1871 N. High St. (at 15th Ave.) on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus. Gallery hours are Tuesday–Wednesday and Sunday 11 am–6 pm; Thursday–Saturday 11 am–8 pm; closed Mondays. Walk-In Tours will be held Thursdays at 5 pm and Saturdays at 1 pm. Admission to the galleries is $5; free for Wexner Center members, college students, and visitors 18 and under; free Thursdays from 4 to 8 pm and the first Sunday of the month. Visitors riding a COTA bus to the show can request a buy-one-get one admission pass from the driver. Parking available in the nearby Ohio Union Garage, just south of the center. More info: or 614 292-3535.



This exhibition is organized by the Wexner Center for the Arts. Major support is provided by the Nimoy Foundation. Major support for this exhibition is provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Resource Interactive.

Significant contributions are provided by The Broad Art Foundation, Nimoy Foundation, Nancy and Dave Gill, and Toby Devan Lewis.

All Wexner Center exhibitions and related events receive support from Corporate Annual Fund of the Wexner Center Foundation and Wexner Center members, as well as Greater Columbus Arts Council, The Columbus Foundation, Nationwide Foundation, and the Ohio Arts Council. Accommodations in Columbus are provided by The Blackwell Inn.

PARKING UPDATE: Construction at 15th and High. For more information click here.

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