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  • 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.

  • 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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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