Ongoing since 2012, the Real DMZ Project interrogates the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea through annual, research-based exhibitions that bring together the works of Korean and international artists. Sunjung Kim, the independent curator behind the project, conceived the idea of exploring the DMZ while curating Japanese artist...
London's galleries and museums are gearing up for a lively October, with Frieze London and Frieze Masters running between 3 and 6 October 2019 at Regent's Park, along with 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, taking place across the same dates at Somerset House; and the tenth anniversary of the Sunday Art Fair, showcasing new and emerging artists...
Mark Bradford walks through Mark Bradford: Los Angeles Mark Bradford: Los Angeles at the Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai (27 July–13 October 2019) is the artist's largest solo exhibition to date in China. In this video for Ocula, Bradford and Diana Nawi, curator of the show, walk through selected works that convey the artist's concerns with...
Mark Bradford is a world-renowned abstract artist based in Los Angeles. He earned his BFA in 1995 when he was in his 30s, and graduated with an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts two years later.
Bradford's art practice is inextricably linked to his personal history. Raised in a single-parent family, he moved to Santa Monica at age 11. He spent most of his formative years helping out inside his mother's beauty salon, Foxy Hair, which was situated in Los Angeles' Leimert Park neighbourhood. After high school, he attained a hairdresser's license and worked at his mother's salon. With his meagre savings from hairstyling, he spent the rest of his time immersing himself in nightclub culture—especially drag performance—both in Los Angeles and abroad, before deciding to take fine art courses at Santa Monica College.
Mesmerised by Abstract Expressionists Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, as well as Robert Rauschenberg's 'combines', he realised that he would never become an easel painter. Instead, he returned to a medium he'd worked with since his childhood: end papers—the small rectangular tissues used during the perming process in salons.
Bradford's work predominantly takes the form of papier mâché painting-sculpture hybrids. The artist often incorporated singed permanent-wave end papers and cellophane used in hair dyeing in early abstract collages such as Daddy, Daddy, Daddy (2001), which is in the collection of the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York. Other found materials like commercial fliers, posters, and billboards salvaged from South Los Angeles also make their way onto his large-scale canvases. After gluing them in place until many layers are formed, he laboriously sands the surface to reveal colours and patterns.
Bradford describes his method of layering and then grinding down the surface as analogous to archaeological digging or plumbing the depths of the human psyche. In addition to 'digging', he has also introduced the technique of 'pulling' to his practice, in which ropes are embedded in the layers of paper and then pulled away. Works utilising this technique include Pull Painting 1 (2015) and Nothing about this is good (2018).
Bradford has never shied away from tackling identity politics, and the materials he uses in his works, which he describes as 'social abstraction', are loaded with connotations of race and class. Such materials include not only end papers but also, for instance, mortgage flyers targeting people with low incomes. The artworks themselves sometimes veer away from abstraction to make clear social critiques, as in Finding Barry (2015), for which the AIDS rates of different states of the United States were carved into the walls of the Hammer Museum. The video Practice (2003) taps into issues of queerness and black bodies with the artist himself filmed shooting hoops while wearing a Los Angeles Lakers shirt and a 4-foot-diameter hoop skirt. Such works seek to undo the stereotype of effortless athleticism often affixed to African Americans.
Apart from working as an artist, Bradford co-founded the non-profit space Art + Practice in 2014 with social activist Allan DiCastro and collector Eileen Harris Norton. Hosting events and exhibitions, the space seeks to provide art education for children under foster care and act as an institution of contemporary art for its community. His social engagement is also evidenced in his art. In his contribution to New Orleans' Prospect.1 triennial in 2008, for example, he used posters and plywood panels to construct a boat-like sculpture entitled Mithra—a Noah's Ark for the people of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
In 2009, Bradford received a a 'Genius Grant' from the MacArthur Fellows Program, and in 2017, he represented the United States at the Venice Biennale with the solo exhibition Tomorrow is Another Day. The United States Pavilion's neoclassical architecture is modelled after the estate of former president Thomas Jefferson, who owned hundreds of black slaves during his life. Bradford had audiences enter the pavilion from the side—the entrance meant for servants or slaves. Inside, five exhibition rooms showcased works that combined myths, grand historical narratives and personal experiences. Spoiled Foot (2017), for instance, has a texture meant to suggest the lesions caused by AIDS, and the narrow spaces left around his works aimed to replicate the marginalisation the artist experiences.
Bradford has exhibited around the world, including a solo exhibition entitled Tears of a Tree at Shanghai's Rockbund Art Museum in 2015. He returned to Shanghai in 2019 with a series of newly commissioned artworks for his solo exhibition Los Angeles, presented at the Long Museum and curated by Diana Nawi. Among the epic works on show were Mithra (2008), the 12-metre-high pull painting Float (2019), and He would see this country burn if he could be king of the ashes (2019), an installation comprised of numerous globes of various sizes.
Born in Los Angeles in 1961, Mark Bradford creates paintings without paint. Earlier in his career he used street merchant posters and hair salon end papers, sticking them to canvases and then tearing them away and sanding them down. The resulting works are abstracts imbued with subtle traces of cultural specificities.Having won the...
Hauser & Wirth was founded in 1992 in Zurich by Iwan Wirth, Manuela Wirth and Ursula Hauser, who were joined in 2000 by Partner and Vice President Marc Payot. A family business with a global outlook, Hauser & Wirth has expanded over the past 26 years to include outposts in Hong Kong, London, New York, Los Angeles, Somerset and Gstaad. The gallery represents over 70 artists and estates who have been instrumental in shaping its identity over the past quarter century, and who are the inspiration for Hauser & Wirth’s diverse range of activities that engage with art, education, conservation and sustainability.
Hauser & Wirth has built a reputation for its dedication to artists and support of visionary artistic projects worldwide. In addition to presenting a dynamic schedule of exhibitions, the gallery collaborates with renowned curators to present museum quality surveys and invests considerable resources in new scholarship and research. Since its earliest days, the gallery has mounted historically significant exhibitions. The inaugural exhibition in 1992 took place at Hauser & Wirth’s first gallery, located in the first-floor apartment of an Art Deco villa in the heart of Zurich; it united mobiles and gouaches by Alexander Calder with sculptures and paintings by Joan Miró. Since then, the gallery has continued to forge an academically rigorous, ambitious program of historic exhibitions, providing a natural home for a number of major 20th-century European and American artist estates, and encouraging a continued and engaging discourse around their oeuvres. These include Louise Bourgeois, The Estate of Philip Guston, The Eva Hesse Estate, Allan Kaprow Estate, Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts, The Estate of Jason Rhoades, Dieter Roth Estate and The Estate of David Smith.
Hauser & Wirth is widely admired for a sympathetic approach to restoring historic buildings and giving them a new lease of life as contemporary art spaces that invigorate surrounding communities. From the conversion of its first permanent venue in the former Löwenbräu brewery building that became Hauser & Wirth Zürich in 1996, the gallery has developed and sensitively restored existing structures that respond to their environments, connecting international art with local culture through architecture. In 2003, an Edward Lutyens-designed former bank on Piccadilly became Hauser & Wirth’s first London gallery, while a decade later, in 2013, the legendary Roxy discotheque and skating rink became the gallery’s second New York space. In recent years, the gallery has renovated Durslade Farm, a collection of dilapidated farm buildings in rural Somerset, into world-class art center Hauser & Wirth Somerset, as well as redeveloping a 100,000 sq. ft. former flour mill, the Globe Mills complex, in downtown Los Angeles in 2016. In 2018, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles was awarded Los Angeles Conservancy’s highest honor, the Chair’s Award, which recognizes the importance of preserving the historic places that make Los Angeles unique. Hauser & Wirth is currently constructing its first purpose-built gallery space at 542 West 22nd Street in New York’s West Chelsea art district.
As a publisher specializing in books on modern and contemporary art, Hauser & Wirth has published over 100 titles in its quarter-century history of exhibitions, projects and research. Hauser & Wirth’s publishing activity, brought together under Hauser & Wirth Publishers, consists of monographs, artists’ books, historic exhibition catalogues, collections of artists’ writings and catalogues raisonnés. Hauser & Wirth Publishers works with academics and curators to bring current, leading research to its readers. Its first dedicated bookshop opened in November 2016 in the new home of Hauser & Wirth’s downtown Manhattan gallery.
A commitment to education underpins the Hauser & Wirth exhibition roster. Every show is accompanied by a series of lectures, interactive seminars, innovative workshops, and special events developed for a range of ages and target audiences. These programs are intended to inspire creativity and foster a passion for contemporary art, nature and architecture within all areas of the community. In Somerset, the gallery has created strong links with local schools, universities and charities, and also provides courses for adults and special interest groups. Hauser & Wirth Somerset welcomes around 100 school groups every year. Events include an annual summer school for young people in collaboration with Bristol Old Vic Theatre, seasonal workshops for adults, such as basket weaving, and Open Farm Sunday, a yearly initiative that opens Durslade Farm to visitors, as well as the annual Pumpkin Festival in celebration of the harvest. This public engagement is mirrored in Los Angeles where the learning program aims to instigate a dialog between the works on view and the city’s diverse audiences.
Food comprises a pivotal element of the experience of Hauser & Wirth’s galleries. Bringing together Iwan and Manuela Wirth’s passion for art with their enthusiasm for hospitality, gastronomy and community, the galleries sit alongside a series of bars and restaurants conceived as social gathering spaces. The Roth Bar & Grill in Somerset and Manuela restaurant in Los Angeles provide informal and convivial atmospheres where honest, seasonal and locally-sourced food is served. The Roth Bar & Grill works closely with local farmers, gamekeepers and gardeners, to use entirely local and ethical British produce. Similarly, at Manuela, an urban kitchen garden provides the restaurant with herbs, fruits and vegetables as well as a chicken house and run for the restaurant’s 11 rare-breed chickens.
Also onsite at Hauser & Wirth Somerset is Durslade Farmhouse, a six-bedroom guesthouse within a Grade II-listed farm building, full of character and bold twists that celebrate the natural antiquity of the building. More recently, renovations have begun on The Fife Arms in Braemar, Scotland, an imposing Arts & Crafts hotel currently undergoing extensive restoration to return the building to its former glory. With their deep-rooted investment in community, history, wildlife and landscape, each of the Wirths’ ventures is embedded in the unique heritage and traditions of its local culture.
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