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Mark Bradford Show will go on the road -- just not to L.A.

April 12, 2010 |  5:00 pm

Bradford[1] Bracelet_500

Mark Bradford is on a roll. Last year he received a MacArthur “genius” award for his “richly textured,” collage-style paintings, which draw from posters, billboards and other urban visuals. Last week he wrapped up a show of works on paper at the Aspen Art Museum. And May 8 marks the opening of his first retrospective at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio.

With more than 50 works from the last decade, the show is being billed as Bradford's “first major museum survey." The centerpiece is a new, ambitious, audio-visual room-sized installation called “Pinocchio Is on Fire,” inspired, Bradford says, by “the changing narrative of South Central Los Angeles.”

Describing it, the artist mentions everything from the changing fashions on Crenshaw Boulevard to first learning about HIV in the ‘80s. (“I thought it was a new cable company,” he says.) 

But the exhibition so deeply rooted in the history of Los Angeles won’t, it turns out, be coming to Los Angeles. Instead it will travel to the ICA in Boston, the MCA in Chicago, the Dallas Museum of Art and in 2012, to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

How did L.A. museums miss out?

Wexner curator Christopher Bedford confirmed that curator Gary Garrels at SFMOMA stepped in when LACMA declined to take the show. Asked about LACMA's decision, Bedford would say only, “I think they did their very best to accommodate the show, and it just didn’t happen.”

Michael Govan, LACMA’s director, says the museum’s decision not to take the show was “nothing unusual — it didn’t work for timing and schedule reasons.”

“We love Mark, we’re lending work to the show, and we have a curator writing for their catalog," Govan continues. "We’ve worked with him before, and we have plans to continue to work with him.”

Still, the lack of an L.A. venue for the first retrospective of an L.A. artist seems odd, especially considering the artist’s popularity with museums and collectors here. In fact, the nonprofit foundations of two collecting couples here — Eli and Edythe Broad and Susan and Leonard Nimoy — provided some funding for the Wexner show.

But Bradford himself says he is not disappointed because the show “is coming to California, and I’m really excited about that. Besides, I’m 100% sure I will do future things in Los Angeles — it’s my city.” 

-- Jori Finkel

Photos: Mark Bradford. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times. Right, "Wear the Bracelet," 2008, by Mark Bradford, mixed media on canvas, collection of Adam and Iris Singer. Credit: Bruce M. White.

Comments () | Archives (8)

Since when does a show NOT coming to LA rate a story? what is this - Yes we have no bananas? Many of LA's best artists have had survey shows that have not come to LA - in fact MOST of LA's most important artists have had survey shows that have traveled in Europe and have never even come the the USA, never mind LA. Why is it LACMA's responsibility to take a show because the artist is from LA - and why would you call the museum on the carpet for their exhibition choices? Marc Bradford is an incredibly lucky person - his work is extremely conventional and inoffensive - and he hit the jackpot. Good for him. He is not simply entitled to a museum exhibition in LA because there happens to be one going around. Next time could you write an article that has news instead of no news?

This is not a new story but, an ongoing one. The city's lack of embracing its own artists. Bradford would agree that he is lucky but, many would also agree that he is also a good artist, for which reason museums should want to exhibit his work.

I think plenty of museums are exhibiting his work.
And let's not get too excited with this year's artist - would you like a list of major artists in LA who have never had a museum show in this city?

And how many of those will be remembered in 50 years? Only a few academics who specialize in, and get their paychecks through, studying the mediocrity of the past that isnt worth saving. Adn thsoe trying to pawn thier framed wallpaper of as investment.

LA has neveer been a hotbed of creative art, it is an entertainment town. Those from Cali that have been good have been form the Bay area, like Diebenkorn, Francis, Still, Graham and even Park. Since 1960 they have simply been art school brats, like Ruscha and the silly Disney light show guy below. The very few worth a damn like Carlos Almaraz, who really was from all over, get ignored.

As with Sam Rodia. The greatest art work in LA is ignored by the artsy community, while those people of commitment, intelligence and passion love them, and have banded together in Nuestro Pueblo to save them.

Save the Watts Towers, tear down the decadent Ivories.
Join http://donaldfrazell.blogspot.com/
To find out how.
art collegia delenda est

Oh sweet jeebus can we never get rid of you frazell?

Sorry, a conscience is a terrible thing, eh?

I know - here's a story that would have rated an article in the LAT; The Jack Goldstein (a great LA artist) show at MOCA was cancelled and curator Phillip Kaiser was reduced to "adjunct curator" from curator. And you're complaining about how LA is not going to get a marc bradford show? Oh wore is him.
Report the news please.

Mark is a great artist. Why the hateful comments?


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