Joe Bradley - New Now New York Wednesday, March 8, 2023 | Phillips
  • Joe Bradley’s career has often been discussed as a prolonged conversation with the past about the tenets of modern abstraction. Through constant experimentation and reinventions of his style, Bradley has deftly navigated between stark minimalism, gestural abstraction and assembled sculptures, ultimately ascending to the forefront of contemporary American art. Executed the same year as Bradley’s major mid-career retrospective at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, Untitled, 2017, is a large-scale depiction of the artist’s famed abstract process.
    “The scale of a painting tells you where to stand. You’re looking at a Vermeer, you get as close as you can to it, and it’s a very cerebral kind of buzz. My canvases are more of a body buzz.”
    —Joe Bradley
    The “body buzz” effect of the present work is stifling, both from far away and in proximity. By adjoining large swathes of bright colors atop a messy canvas, Bradley invites the viewer into his process. Resisting confinement as an abstractionist, Bradley affirms that the figurative elements in his work enable the extraction of a narrative: “I had been thinking of [my paintings] as having personality or hoping they would have personality. I liked the idea of a painting having a sort of ambiance, giving off a vibe. Like you could look at one out of the corner of your eye like you would a stranger in the room.”i
    “If you are in a bar and there is a baseball game on the TV, it’s almost impossible to keep your eyes off of it, even if you have no interest in baseball. Painting has the same kind of effect on me, it doesn’t matter what the painting is. There is something about the screen, and paintings are a sort of screen … they are like doorways. It’s like your ticket out of the room”
    —Joe Bradley

    In contrast to the artist’s monochromatic paintings of block figures, Joe Bradley’s abstract works invite the viewer to consider the weight of gesture. Bearing a visual resemblance to Jean-Michel Basquiat’s mark making style, Bradley scrawls simplified pictorial symbols inspired by neo-expressionists, hieroglyphs, and graffiti. Untitled channels the same energy and functions as a liberated example of self-expression that rejects traditional modes of representation.


    i Joe Bradley, quoted in Ross Simonini, "An interview with Joe Bradley," A Life Before Its Time, October 9, 2022, online.

    • Provenance

      Gagosian Gallery, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2017

Property from a Distinguished Collection



oil on canvas
75 5/8 x 70 5/8 in. (192.1 x 179.4 cm)
Painted in 2017.

Full Cataloguing

$250,000 - 350,000 

Sold for $279,400

Contact Specialist

Avery Semjen
Head of Sale, New Now
212 940 1207

New Now

New York Auction 8 March 2023