Friends in Conversation: Mark Bradford and Sherrilyn Ifill

  • Thu 13 April 2023
  • 6 – 7 pm

To celebrate our opening of ‘Mark Bradford: You Don’t Have to Tell Me Twice’, the artist’s first show in New York since 2015, please join us for the rare opportunity to hear a conversation between friends with artist Mark Bradford and civil rights lawyer Sherrilyn Ifill.

The talk will be introduced by Ford Foundation President Darren Walker.

Streaming here at 6 pm EDT, 3 pm PDT and 11 pm BST, Thursday 13 April 2023.


About Mark Bradford

Mark Bradford (b. 1961 in Los Angeles) is a contemporary artist best known for his large-scale abstract paintings created out of paper. Characterized by its layered formal, material, and conceptual complexity, Bradford’s work explores social and political structures that objectify marginalized communities and the bodies of vulnerable populations. After accumulating layers of billboards, posters, comic books, and other paper onto canvas, he excavates their textured surfaces using power tools to explore economic and social structures that define contemporary subjects.

Bradford’s practice includes painting, sculpture, video, photography, printmaking, and other media. In addition to his studio practice, Bradford engages in projects designed to bring contemporary ideas outside the walls of exhibition spaces and into communities with limited access to arts institutions.

Bradford received his BFA from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in 1995 and his MFA from CalArts in 1997. He has since been widely exhibited internationally. In 2017, Bradford represented the United States at the Venice Biennale with his presentation, ‘Tomorrow is Another Day’. In 2015, Bradford received his first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, ‘Scorched Earth’, at the Hammer Museum, and in 2010, Bradford received a survey exhibition at the Wexner Center for the Arts that traveled to five locations over two years.

Bradford has received numerous awards, including his appointment to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the US Department of State’s Medal of Arts, his appointment as a National Academician, and a MacArthur Fellowship Award.

Recent solo exhibitions of Bradford’s work have been presented at Hauser & Wirth, Menorca, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; Hauser & Wirth, London; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC; and Long Museum West Bund, Shanghai.


About Sherrilyn Ifill

Sherrilyn Ifill is a civil rights lawyer and scholar. From 2013-2022, she served as the President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), the nation’s premier civil rights law organization fighting for racial justice and equality. She currently serves as a Senior Fellow at the Ford Foundation.

Ifill began her career as a Fellow at the American Civil Liberties Union, before joining the staff of the LDF as an Assistant Counsel in 1988, where she litigated voting rights cases in the south. In 1993 Ifill left LDF to join the faculty at University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore. Over twenty years, Ifill taught civil procedure and constitutional law to thousands of law students, and pioneered a series of civil rights law clinics with her students.

Her book “On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century,” was highly acclaimed, and is credited with laying the foundation for contemporary conversations about lynching and reconciliation. A 10th anniversary edition of the book was recently released with a Foreword by Bryan Stevenson, the acclaimed lawyer and founder of the national lynching memorial in Montgomery, AL. She continues to write scholarly articles and is currently completing a new book about race and the current crisis in American democracy entitled, “Is This America?” which will be published by Penguin Press in 2024.

As the President & Director-Counsel at LDF, Ifill’s voice and analysis has played a prominent role in shaping our national conversation about race and civil rights. She led the organization in groundbreaking litigation in the areas of voting rights, economic justice, and education, and took a prominent role in confronting police violence against unarmed Black people. Her strategic vision and counsel are highly sought after from leaders in government, business, law and academia.

Ifill is a graduate of Vassar College and earned her J.D. from New York University School of Law. She is the recipient of numerous honorary doctorates and was named by TIME Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the world. Ifill is a recipient of the Radcliffe Medal, the Brandeis Medal, the Thurgood Marshall Award from the American Bar Association, and The Gold Medal from the New York State Bar Association. She serves on the board of the Mellon Foundation, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the board of the Learning Policy Institute, and the Board of Trustees of New York University School of Law.

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