Wang Wei, Director of the Long Museum, and Mark Bradford. Photo: Stefanie Keenan

‘Mark Bradford: Los Angeles’ at The Long Museum in Shanghai

11 April 2019

The Long Museum has announced the exhibition ‘Los Angeles’ by Mark Bradford, the artist’s largest exhibition to date in China, will open on 27 July 2019. Taking his current residence and hometown as its title, ‘Mark Bradford: Los Angeles’ is a site-specific exhibition that explores the evolution of Bradford’s practice over the past decade, and his treatment of themes from present-day American culture.

The variety of media in which Bradford works reflects the artist’s singular exploration of societal contradictions, which can move and inspire actions in the present day. While best known for his abstract paintings and collage-based works, as the exhibition will highlight, Bradford has also developed a robust sculptural practice. Organized by independent curator Diana Nawi, ‘Los Angeles’ utilizes the first floor of the Long Museum’s cavernous galleries, including the first presentation of ‘Mithra’ (2008) outside of the United States, a large-scale sculpture the artist conceived for ‘Prospect.1’ in New Orleans, LA.

‘His works are gestural palimpsests of paint, canvas, paper, rope and everyday materials; messily sublime objects that can be read as maps, artifacts, critiques, memorials, and manifestations of presence. They offer a striking interplay between form and surface, and notions of identity, site and history.’ – Diana Nawi

Among the most distinguishable site-specific public sculptures to be exhibited in recent years, its boat-like shape, fashioned from weathered wooden panels salvaged from the wreckage of Hurricane Katrina, harkens the mythology of Noah’s ark while simultaneously responding to the trials of a community that continues to live with the devastating aftermath of the 2001 flood. The significant work addresses themes of hope and devastation, community and conflict—themes that run through Bradford’s practice.

Mark Bradford, Mithra, 2008. Installation view, Prospect.1, New Orleans LA, 2008 © Mark Bradford

Mark Bradford, Mithra, 2008. Installation view, Prospect.1, New Orleans LA, 2008 © Mark Bradford

The exhibition will also comprise an entirely new ‘Waterfall’ work, responding directly to the Museum’s unique architecture. Its deconstructed painting strips will cascade down 12 meters from floor to ceiling, installed in the central double-height foyer space. Additionally, on display will be large, spherical sculptures, a reference to globes, planetary constellations and a series of buoys. Bradford’s latest series of large-scale paintings (2018–2019), which aims to unpack the civil unrest experienced in 1965 Los Angeles during the Watts Rebellion, reveals the artist’s evolving exploration of material and concept. These works are complemented by a series of smaller-scale compositions, which anticipate and push the vocabulary of this newest body of work. The curator, Diana Nawi, sheds light on this new work, that ‘Mark’s radical approach to painting, through both material and content, has established new terms and possibilities for the genre’. ‘Mark Bradford: Los Angeles’ is organized by Long Museum (West Bund) in collaboration with the artist’s studio. Throughout the run of the show, access to the exhibition will be free and open to the public, allowing for as many visitors as possible to experience Bradford’s works in person. Free admission eliminates one barrier to art, and speaks to the artist’s social practice dedicated to providing opportunities for communities around the world. –  ‘Mark Bradford: Los Angeles’ will be on view at The Long Museum in Shanghai from 27 July – 13 October 2019.  #MarkBradfordInChina