Tag Archives: Los Angeles

Mark Bradford at the MCA: exercises in community, texture, and collaboration

"Scorched Earth" (2006), The Artist pictured in Foreground

So, I am totally late on this one… which is inexcusable really, because I was at the Opening of the exhibition.  Least I could have done is pub it.  But, alas….

Mark Bradford‘s Exhibition currently on view at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art is a Retrospective that really gives a sense of the artist’s use of layers to establish history and depth in his work.  A number of the pieces displayed (like “Strawberry”, [pictured below]) feature small square wrapping papers (the sort used in beauty parlors to augment rollers) as a medium.  One particular work utilizes sun faded wheatpaste movie posters.  A good measure of his materials are, in fact, well known residents of his neighborhood, and his work whispers of larger community-based issues. Some of his work even echos Topographical maps.

In part due to his works’ scale, and in part due to his use of texture, his work needs to be seen in person, rather than in print or on a screen.

On the Collaborative tip, during this past year, the Artist was Skyping and Zipping back and forth between his homebase of Los Angeles and our fair city working with youth from both Lindblom Math and Science Academy in West Englewood and the YOUMedia Program at the Harold Washington Library culminating in a well received Pop-Up Gallery exhibition of the Students’ work.  The exhibition (a part of the MCA-backed Mark Bradford Project) dealt with issues of community and mapping, while using a variety of mediums.  Many of the students agreed that they learned as much about life as they did about artistic practice from Bradford, who beautifully validated the burgeoning voices of the self-proclaimed “Art Kids”.

Mark Bradford’s work will be on display at the MCA from May 28-September 18, 2011

Museum of Contemporary Art

220 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago


Teddy (1971)

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(runtime 00:16:16)
Produced by the University of California at Los Angeles, Extension Media Center, and Directed by Richard Wells. This is a beautifully raw short film shot in 1971. The opening scene portrays kids, fresh out of high school, but already short on hope. The public domain film presents the first-person experiences of a black teenager coming up in Watts whose brother is in a soul band. He expresses his views on ‘the System’, education, war, drugs, revolution, his community, the Black Panther Party, and the police.

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