Mark Bradford - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Thursday, June 29, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Gifted by the artist to the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    In its 57th year and offering work from 120 artists worldwide, the Venice Biennale is arguably the most progressive event in the contemporary art calendar. With Viva Arte Viva as its resounding theme, Christine Macel, chief curator at the Pompidou Centre, curates the 2017 Biennale. This June Phillips is pleased to present a selection of artists chosen to represent their countries in Venice. Although geographically distant – Estonia, France, Israel, Switzerland and the United States – works by Katja Novitskova, Xavier Veilhan, Gal Weinstein, Carol Bove and Mark Bradford are thematically linked, signifying a poignant reflection of our contemporary world.

    Examining the city as a social laboratory of everyday practice, Bradford’s Tomorrow is Another Day utilises urban detritus, offering a decaying mural, gritty collages and fragmented images to communicate his concerns for the marginalized, encompassing both their vulnerability and resiliency to the unfulfilled American promise. Similarly Bradford’s Untitled, 2002, offers a celestial Minimalist grid recalling the energetic and often frenzied topography of the Los Angeles cityscape. The work delicately conveys a panoramic and ethereal landscape that further reveals the temporary condition of materials – the ephemerality of urban life.

  • 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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signed with the artist’s initials, inscribed and dated 'To G From M 2002' on the reverse
acrylic, burnt paper collage on paper laid on canvas
41.6 x 46.5 cm (16 3/8 x 18 1/4 in.)
Executed in 2002.

£30,000 - 50,000 

Sold for £40,000

Contact Specialist
Tamila Kerimova
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4065
[email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 30 June 2017