Mark Bradford - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, October 4, 2016 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Lombard Freid Fine Arts, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2001

  • Exhibited

    New York, Lombard Freid Fine Arts, I Don't Think You Ready For This Jelly, November 2001

  • Literature

    Holland Cotter, "ART IN REVIEW; Mark Bradford", The New York Times (November 2001)

  • Catalogue Essay

    On first glance, one might find traces of Richter, Rothko and Reinhardt in Click, yet it is unique in every way. The sumptuously nuanced canvas, both aesthetically pleasing and instinctively fascinating, is the perfect embodiment of Mark Bradford’s practice. In stark contrast to the immensely flat surface, the metaphoric aspect is deeply entrenched in the society. The streets of South Los Angeles and the surrounding cultural landscape is brilliantly captured and immortalised in Bradford’s painting overloaded with various found materials. The translucent permanent weave end papers overlaid on the canvas mimic rows of urban buildings, densely packed together. The form and colour of Click cleverly blends geometric abstraction with the uninhibited spontaneity of Bradford’s vibrant South L.A. neighbourhood. The found fliers, posters, and the permanent weave end paper, for Mark Bradford, are all invaluable containers of information, synonymous with memory.

    Through his works, Mark Bradford aims to reveal the truths and seek answers. Brimming with concerns for historic and contemporary gender identities, social class, ethnicity, sexuality, commerce, and art traditions, these works exemplify the inspiring direction abstract art is heading into in the new millennia. Bradford’s work is deeply rooted in the South Los Angeles neighbourhood that he was born and raised in, directly engaging with the society than many other artists. Amongst the first works that incorporate found billboard posters within the neighbourhood, Click is a celebration of the postmodern, and a preservation of the contemporary. Bradford is committed to ‘[fight] against the static machine that wants to institutionalise everything’ with his ‘social abstraction’. Instead creating inward looking paintings, Bradford saw his paintings as a window ‘looking out at the social and abstracting it.’ (Mark Bradford, In Conversation: Mark Bradford, A.L. Steiner, and Wutsang, 2015) Alongside the remnants of posters and fliers, permanent weave end paper is also an important element for the artist. These are small pieces of tissues used during hair perming, an everyday essential in his mother’s beauty salon. Bradford continued to work even after attaining his MFA. The inspiration to incorporate weave end paper came about in early 2000s while working in the salon. This surprisingly simple everyday essential from the salon became the foundation for his subsequent innovative collages, beginning with Click.

    Bradford ingeniously presents his personal life experience as an abstract vision of society, critical of the organised chaos in the urban neighbourhoods, disputes, and social injustice. The viewers are invited to peak through the thinly veiled translucent weave end paper from the salon, and witness Bradford’s uncompromising vision of a better society.



acrylic, permanent weave end paper, silver coated paper collage, printed paper collage and felt-tip pen on canvas
182.8 x 213.3 cm (71 7/8 x 83 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2001.

£500,000 - 700,000 

Sold for £665,000

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
+44 207 318 4063

Henry Highley
Head of Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4061

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 5 October 2016