America’s representative at the 2017 Venice Biennale, Bradford has radically renewed abstract art
Mark Bradford’s exhibition for the US Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale, titled Tomorrow Is Another Day, is born out of the artist’s longtime commitment to the inherently social nature of the material world. For Bradford, abstraction is not opposed to content; it embodies it. Finding materials for his paintings in the hair salon, Home Depot and the streets of Los Angeles, Bradford renews the traditions of abstract painting, demonstrating that freedom from socially prescribed representation is profoundly meaningful in the hands of a black artist.
Mark Bradford: Tomorrow Is Another Day is not only a catalog for Bradford’s pavilion project; it is a different kind of book, a substantial publication that blends the biographical with the historical and political. Essays from outside the art world―by Anita Hill, Peter James Hudson, W.E.B. Du Bois and Zadie Smith―narrate a series of interwoven stories about Reconstruction, civil rights and the vulnerable body in urban space, fleshed out with vivid archival photographs and documents. The book also includes significant new texts from curator Katy Siegel and art historian Sarah Lewis, as well as a revealing interview with Bradford, offering a new understanding of the work of one of today’s most influential contemporary artists.
Mark Bradford was born in 1961 in Los Angeles, where he lives and works. 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.