Untitled (Corner of Desire and Piety) III

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  • Provenance

    Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Aspen Art Museum, Mark Bradford, February 11 - April 4, 2010

  • Literature

    Mark Bradford: Merchant Posters, exh. cat., Aspen Art Museum, 2010, no. 83, pp. 126, 153 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Untitled (Corner of Desire and Piety) III is from a seminal series of Mark Bradford’s “merchant paper” works executed in 2008. Bradford made this series to address Hurricane Katrina’s disastrous effects on the impoverished African American members of the New Orleans community. Included in the acclaimed 2010 Aspen Art Museum exhibition and directly related to the monumental 72-piece 2008 work titled Corner of Desire and Piety at the new Broad Museum in Los Angeles, Untitled (Corner of Desire and Piety) III is a highly charged image of a community still struggling three years after the devastation of Katrina. The pieces of paper in the composition were found in and around the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans and advertise propane delivery to FEMA trailers that proliferated, and remained, long after Hurricane Katrina. The corner of Desire and Piety Streets does not exist as the streets run parallel to one another and never intersect. However, Bradford uses the title of the work as a metaphoric incongruity that mirrors the impossible decisions many residents were forced to make following Katrina and its recovery period. Utilizing shimmering foil further obscures the text and pushes the physical manifestation of language away from the literal and towards abstraction. Within such a compact composition, the artist is able to unite many of his primary stylistic and emotional themes that are interwoven throughout his practice. Without regard to the source of his materials, Bradford’s work is always focused towards social commentary and, through his art, advocacy. Incorporating the ephemera of his “neighborhoods” across America in his minimalist text “paintings”, Mark Bradford makes us aware of the exceptional ways in which he has been able to re-examine and then re-purpose the practice of painting in the 21st century.

  • Artist Bio

    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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Property of a Private American Collector

Untitled (Corner of Desire and Piety) III

2008
mixed media collage
22 x 27 3/4 in. (55.9 x 70.5 cm)
Initialed, titled and dated "Corner of Desire and Piety M 2008" on the reverse.

Estimate
$100,000 - 150,000 

sold for $173,000

Contact Specialist
Kate Bryan
Head of Evening Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1267

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 8 May 2016