The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) presents a talk by critically acclaimed artist Mark Bradford on Thursday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. The free event is hosted by the DIA’s Friends of Modern and Contemporary Art and is made possible with the generous support of CULTURE LAB DETROIT.
Bradford is a Los Angeles-based artist whose work was featured in the DIA’s recent “30 Americans” exhibition. He will share an overview of his artistic and social practice, as well as the journey leading to his presentation at the U.S. Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale. In Venice, in addition to the United States pavilion exhibition, Bradford collaborated on a social project initiative with Rio Tera dei Pensieri, which provides education and reintegration services to local incarcerated populations. He will discuss the processes that led to this collaboration and the effects it has had on the community.
“Mark Bradford’s art and community collaborations demonstrate the power of art to call attention to important social issues,” said Salvador Salort-Pons, DIA director. “His talk is especially topical, as great change is taking place in Detroit with arts and community development at the forefront.”
Bradford, who was born in South Los Angeles in 1961, creates abstract art charged with social and political activism that addresses issues of race, orientation and class. A large part of Bradford’s youth was spent in his mother’s beauty salon, where he developed a strong sense of community and a fascination with everyday objects, which he incorporates into his art to signify important cultural messages.
Among Bradford’s numerous honors are the Bucksbaum Award from The Whitney Museum of American Art (2006), a MacArthur Fellowship (2009) and the David. C. Driskell Prize (2016). In 2013, he was elected as a National Academician by the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts in New York and in 2015 was presented with the U.S. State Department Medal of Arts.
Selected public collections include The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.
In November 2017, Bradford will present “Pickett’s Charge,” a monumental commissioned cyclorama of paintings at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. At 397 linear feet of wall space, the work will be Bradford’s largest site-specific work to date.
Bradford co-founded the nonprofit art, activism and community space Art + Practice in the Leimert Park Village area of South Los Angeles. Its vision statement reads: “Art + Practice encourages education and culture by providing support services to foster youth predominantly living in South Los Angeles as well as offering access to free, museum-quality art exhibitions and moderated art lectures to the community of Leimert Park.”