Mark Bradford (born November 20, 1961) American artist

Mark Bradford (born November 20, 1961) American artist

‘’When I discover something new it’s like a person buys a new pair of shoes, some people take them home, some people write in the story they put them on that is totally me’’ I want to put them right now I want to put old one in the box and take them home, that is how I am in studio as well.


Born in Los Angeles, California in 1961, completed his BRA in 1995 and MFA in 1997 from the California Institute of Arts in Valencia. Mark Bradford is one of the most renowned African-American artists. His art practice focuses on political and emotional terrain.

Mark uses found material mostly while developing his artworks and large size installations to incorporate social and political context directly into words. The words which are kind of experimental, poetic, ambiguous with aesthetic values. He has been appointed to represent the USA in the Venice Biennale, perhaps the biggest commission of any artist career. Mark’s breakthrough paintings made a storm in the art world, true to his roots he wove the social fabric of the hair saloon into his art. 

The Devil Is Beating His Wife, 2003, billboard paper, photomechanical reproductions, permanent-wave endpapers, stencils and mixed media on plywood, 335 x 610 cm.

Before becoming an artist, Mark used to work at her mother’s beauty salon. He says Salon is a blended term. It comprises all races while giving an explanation to professor Anita Hill in the new book. ” The beauty shop is demanding to black America. When you think of curl and press, mostly what comes into your mind is a beauty shop. I was a beauty operator and my mom was a hairdresser. Now they are stylists”.

Bradford took out the idea and material from the beauty shop, he says that the material was cheap that it was easy for me to fiddle around and performing experiments. ”Endpapers were fifty cents for a box of two hundred.” He was directly speaking to black girls and black women, the use of grid directly take us towards modernism, the hair papers themselves introduced the incredible other social and eventually political content into the work. The work also became from the social fabric of life and everyone can relate to it. 


Strawberry 2003, billboard paper, photomechanical reproductions, permanent-wave endpapers, and mixed media on canvas

For Mark, it was a political act as an abstract painter because he didn’t want people to overdetermine what it meant, to be black what it meant to be a gay, what it meant to be a studio in south-central. He was in his early 20’s when AIDS hit America and it affected the lives of thousands of youngsters in his city. The idea of dealing with the shame and guilt and you are 18 or 19, and he invented this image of the United States scraped back out of the wall, the statics of AIDS infection available as of couple year prior to the exhibition.

Mark Bradford, “Finding Barry”, 2015

The number of pages until you realize that those numbers are connected to people, it is like when we drop bombs and it just a map and little burst until they take pictures of the ground of the people in the homes they have destroyed, and lives that they have destroyed, so you had this map that was made lout of standing back through a lobby walls so all previous projects, that artist has done over the years on that wall kind of came through in their fragments as they have been painted over and painted on and painted over and painted on.

Mark also began doing research looking at Medical images of AIDS, very close up microscopic images of the blood of a different kind of bodily fluids and through those very abstract images, he found a way into a content that had to do with the body that had to do with the other body in crisis. Mark wanted people to remember people that struggle. 

Mark Bradford: Scorched Earth

Mark’s works also included videos, prints, and installations as he grasps anything to reflect his idea, he has done several exhibitions and won international awards. For more info.

Meet the Artist: Mark Bradford – Hirshhorn Museum