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Mark Bradford - Merchant Posters

By J Caldwell

It seems the Fall of 2012 has been a season of goodbyes.

Mark Bradford - Merchant PostersWe recently said farewell to our founding director Kim Rorschach and on Sunday (December 9, 2012) we bid adieu to the four colossal works of art from Los Angeles contemporary artist Mark Bradford. Since the summer installation we’ve been enamored with their grandeur and intricacy and came back to visit them time and time again. Bradford is an artist the museum supported early on whose work we have wanted in our collection. In honor of our founding Director Kim Rorschach, we presented her with an awe-inspiring suite of six new Mark Bradford prints – his first effort in this medium – which reflect the same interest in found material expressed throughout his career. Although we do not have any specific dates at the moment, the Nasher Museum intends to display these works of art in the future.

Over the past 10 years, Mark Bradford has emerged as one of the most inventive and accomplished artists of his generation. In 2009 he received the MacArthur Foundation “genius” award and in 2010 a traveling mid-career survey of his work was organized by the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio. Bradford is best known for his large-scale, painterly collages and installations that demonstrate his interest in mapping communities and underground economies. His works are largely made from signage and salvaged materials, often taken from the streets of South Central Los Angeles where he lives. Bradford speaks to the adaptive nature of merchant culture by incorporating informal business posters, which advertise everything from gun shows to credit repair. He tears, paints, bleaches, sands and embellishes his materials to create abstract works that reimagine the city and reconfigure the urban landscape. Bradford’s broader practice, which includes video and sound, also offers subtle investigations of class, race and gender in the United States. This is the first installation of Mark Bradford’s work at the Nasher Museum since the 2007 exhibition Street Level: Mark Bradford, William Cordova, and Robin Rhode.

Images: Mark Bradford, Untitled, 2012. Suite of six prints; etching, photogravure, and chine-collé on paper; 20 x 16 inches (50.8 x 40.6 cm) each. Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC, USA. Museum purchase in honor of Kimerly Rorschach P’11, P’13, Mary D.B.T. and James H. Semans Director, with funds provided by Marilyn M. Arthur, Trent Carmichael, Margaret and Jack Neely, Virginia Rorschach, Paula Cooper, Paula and James Crown, Thomas S. Kenan III, Patricia and Thruston Morton, Christen and Derek Wilson, Deborah DeMott, Jason Rubell and Michelle Simkins-Rubell, C.T. Woods-Powell and Richard Powell, Peg Palmer, Trevor Schoonmaker and Teka Selman, Victor and Lenore Behar, Cynthia and Mark Kuhn, Katharine and Bryan Reid, Mindy and Guy Solie, Pepper and Donald Fluke, Ruth and Sidney Cox, Ann and Rhodes Craver, Trena and Richard Hawkins, Ginger and John Jernigan, Patricia and Bill Joklik, Peggy and John Murray, Mary and James Siedow, Eunice and Herman Grossman, Anna Ho and Bob Whalen, Sarah Schroth, Kristine Stiles, Barbara and Joel Smith, Jo and Peter Baer, Diana Evia-Lanevi and Ingemar Lanevi, Sandra Harris, Laura and James Ladd, Sue and Ralph McCaughan, N. Alison Haltom and David McClay, Carol O’Brien, Caroline and Arthur Rogers, Ruth Glesby Wagner, Maureen Berry, Arienne Cheek, Juline Chevalier, Pierce and Kathryn Freelon, Kristen L. Greenaway and Lori S. Ramsey, Angela and Aaron Greenwald, Reneé Cagnina Haynes and Morgan Haynes, Angela O. Terry and A. Daphne Terry, Marianne Wardle, Anne Williams and John Burness, Katharine A. Adkins, J Caldwell, Jamie Dupré, Heather B. Griswold, Brad Johnson, Wendy Hower Livingston, Catherine Morris, Kathleen Wright, Molly and Enrico Boarati, Kenneth Dodson, David Eck, Charles J. Carroll, Rachel Goodwin and Benjamin Riseling, Jimmy Jones, Lee Nisbet, Nikki Reeb, and Amy Weaver.

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