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  • Provenance

    Lombard-Freid Fine Arts, New York

  • Exhibited

    San Antonio, Finesilver, That Wasn’t My Car You Saw, April 12 - June 15, 2002; New York, Lombard-Freid Fine Arts, Mark Bradford: Tainted, October 17 - November 15, 2003

  • Literature

    F. Colpitt, “Mark Bradford at Finesilver – San Antonio,” Art in America, November 2002, p. 165

  • Catalogue Essay

    "When I saw Mark’s paintings, I was amazed by the very elegant but raw quality. They felt very emotional, very immediate. But also so beautifully considered…After that, I came to know his photographic work, the performative work and the way in which Mark really lives his practice."
      (Thelma Goldin quoted in E. Hardy, “The Eye of L.A.,” Los Angeles Times, June 13, 2006, p. 16)
    Bradford seeks to establish his own identity in his work by drawing on notions of beauty and ethnicity. Thelma Goldin, curator at the Studio Museum Harlem, used the term “postblack” to describe the latest output of work by young African-American artists in a recent exhibition titled Freestyle which included Bradford’s work. Bradford’s artistic practice is influenced by his personal experiences growing up and eventually working in a beauty salon in South Los Angeles. He uses overlapping squares of cellophane and paper in ways that mimic the various dying, straightening and curling processes of the salon. Layered over salvaged remnants of posters and alongside collaged images from hairstyling magazines, the artist’s canvas is a composition of shimmering, variegated forms that shine through the uneven surface grid.

  • Artist Biography

    Mark Bradford

    American • 1961

    Now acclaimed worldwide, Mark Bradford was first recognized on the contemporary art scene in 2001, following the inclusion of his multi-layered collage paintings in Thelma Golden’s Freestyle exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem. The groundbreaking exhibition introduced him alongside 27 other emerging African American artists as part of a generation of "post-Black" artists who sought to transcend the label of "Black artist”, while still deeply exploring and re-defining the complex notions of blackness. Bradford’s ascent has been as awe-inspiring as it is deserving: from critical attention in Freestyle, to his first solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York in 2007, to his installation at the 2017 Venice Biennial as the first African American artist to represent the United States.

    Critical of the ways in which the annals of art history divorced abstract art from its political context, particularly when looking at the Abstract Expressionists working in the 1950s, Bradford has endeavored to “make abstract painting and imbue it with policy, and political, and gender, and race, and sexuality”. Bradford’s pursuit of what he has termed “social abstraction”, that is, “abstract art with a social or political context clinging to the edges”, is deeply indebted to his choice of materials that allow him to imbue his works with a proliferation of readings, from art historical, to political, to autobiographical.

    Bradford’s choice of material has always been deeply connected to his biography and everyday existence. While Bradford’s early work utilized end-papers, the use of which was inspired by time at his mother’s hair salon, in the mid-2000s the artist shifted towards using paper material sourced on the streets of his immediate neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles. Despite the fact that Bradford is known for making paintings out of found printed material, his works only reveals glimpses of their original documentary intent. Working in the lineage of the Dadaists and the Nouveau Réalisme movement, Bradford honed a refined technique of a décollage, a process defined by cutting, tearing away or otherwise removing, pieces of an original image.

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I Thought You Knew


Collage, acrylic paint, and felt tip pen on canvas.

72 1/4 x 84 1/4 in. (183.5 x 214 cm).
Initialed, titled, and dated “MB ‘I Thought You Knew’ 2001” on the reverse.

$80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for $325,000

Contemporary Art Part I

15 May 2008, 7pm
New York