Press Release

U.S. Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia 57th International Art Exhibition to Feature Tomorrow Is Another Day With New Work by Mark Bradford

Baltimore, MD

Project Will Include Multi-Year Collaboration Between Bradford and Venice Social Cooperative, Rio Terà Dei Pensieri

The Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University and The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA), in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, will present Mark Bradford as the representative for the United States at La Biennale di Venezia 57th International Art Exhibition, on view from May 13 to November 26, 2017. Los Angeles-based Bradford, a leading light in contemporary art, will create new works in a variety of media—presented alongside existing work—for Tomorrow Is Another Day, co-curated by Christopher Bedford, BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director and commissioner for the project; and Katy Siegel, BMA Senior Programming and Research Curator.

In conjunction with the U.S. Pavilion exhibition, Bradford will embark on a six-year collaboration with Venice social cooperative nonprofit Rio Terà dei Pensieri, which provides employment opportunities to men and women incarcerated in Venice to create artisanal goods and other products and supports their re-integration into society. Titled Process Collettivo, the Rio Terà dei Pensieri/Bradford collaboration aims to launch a sustainable longterm program that brings awareness to both the penal system and the success of the social cooperative model. A storefront, located in the heart of Venice, will be the initial manifestation of the collaboration, which will be open to the public in April 2017.

Mark Bradford is known for abstract paintings and collage-based works that recapture mid-century American art’s capacity to conjure the sublime and evoke deep feeling, while incorporating layers of social and personal commentary. In parallel with his studio work, Bradford is deeply engaged with social issues, as co-founder of Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization Art + Practice,which encourages education and culture by supporting the needs of foster youth predominantly living in South Los Angeles, and providing access to free, museum-curated art exhibitions and moderated art lectures to the community of Leimert Park. The artist’s equivalent commitments to formal intervention and social activism anchor his contribution to culture at large, and embody his belief that contemporary artists can reinvent the world we share. 

The U.S. Pavilion exhibition Tomorrow Is Another Day will reflect Bradford’s interest in renewing traditions of abstract and materialist painting, as well as his longtime social and intellectual interests, most notably in marginalized populations. For the five galleries of the U.S. Pavilion, Bradford will create a multilayered narrative that progresses through the building’s spaces and reflects the artist’s belief in the capacity of art to expose contradictory histories and inspire action in the present day.

 

PROCESS COLLETTIVO: Rio Terà dei Pensieri / Mark Bradford

Bradford’s distinctive vision will also inform Process Collettivo, which will leverage the world stage of La Biennale di Venezia to foster a deeper understanding of the limitations of penal systems and support a social cooperative model that addresses some of those limitations by creating a bridge of opportunity for inmates and those recently released. Over a six-year period, a storefront space in the Frari district of Venice, developed and programmed by Rio Terà dei Pensieri and Bradford, will sell artisanal goods made by Venice prison inmates; provide opportunities for employment to formerly incarcerated individuals; and function as a resource center for former inmates to receive support services, including access to job training, housing, mental health services, and workshops that teach practical skills. All proceeds from merchandise sales will support Rio Terà dei Pensieri in expanding and sustaining the cooperative for years to come.Throughout Process Collettivo, Rio Terà dei Pensieri and Bradford will assess the project’s impact in improving the lives of former inmates and aim to reshape the negative perceptions surrounding the penal system and the formerly incarcerated.

“Mark’s approach to the U.S. Pavilion project—encompassing both his exhibition and Process Collettivo—exemplifies his distinctly material approach to contending with social issues, particularly those impacting the margins of society,” said Bedford, BMA director and former director of the Rose Art Museum. “Just as Mark will actualize social change beyond the walls of the Pavilion, the BMA aims to bring contemporary art beyond our walls and into our local community. It is a privilege to work with Mark to advance these shared interests through the international platform of the Venice Biennale.”

This will be the second time that BMA has served as a commissioner of the U.S. Pavilion. In 1960, the BMA was invited to organize the Pavilion by Porter A. McCray, chairman of the International Council of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The exhibition was co-curated by BMA Director Adelyn Breeskin and Chief Curator Dr. Gertrude Rosenthal, featuring four New York School Abstract Expressionist artists: Hans Hofmann, Franz Kline, Philip Guston, and the sculptor Theodore Roszak.

To learn more about Mark Bradford and the U.S. Pavilion, please visit www.markbradfordvenice2017.org.

 

ABOUT MARK BRADFORD

Mark Bradford was born in 1961 in Los Angeles, where he lives and works. He received a BFA (1995) and MFA (1997) from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia. Best known for his large-scale abstract paintings that examine the class-, race-, and gender-based economies that structure urban society in the United States, Bradford’s richly layered and collaged canvases represent a connection to the social world through materials. Bradford uses fragments of found posters, billboards, newsprint, and custom-printed paperto simultaneously engage with and advance the formal traditions of abstract painting.  

Solo exhibitions include Scorched Earth at the Hammer Museum (2015), Sea Monsters at the Rose Art Museum (2014), Aspen Art Museum (2011), Maps and Manifests at Cincinnati Art Museum (2008), and Neither New Nor Correct at the Whitney Museum of American Art (2007). In 2009, Mark Bradford was the recipient of the MacArthur Foundation ‘Genius’ Award. In 2010, Mark Bradford, a large-scale survey of his work, was organized by Christopher Bedford and presented at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, before traveling to the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Dallas Museum of Art; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. 

His work has been widely exhibited and has been included in group shows at LACMA Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2014), Whitney Museum of American Art (2013), the 12th Istanbul Biennial (2011), Seoul Biennial (2010), the Carnegie International (2008), São Paulo Biennial (2006), and Whitney Biennial (2006).

 

ABOUT THE COMMISSIONER/CURATORS

Christopher Bedford assumed the role of Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director of The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) in August 2016 as the 10th director to lead the museum, which is renowned for its outstanding collections of 19th-century, modern, and contemporary art. Bedford is recognized as an innovative and dynamic leader, fostering community engagement with the visual arts and developing programs of national and international impact. Prior to joining the BMA, Bedford served as director of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University from 2012 to 2016, where he led the museum in strengthening its engagement with both the university community and the greater Boston area. During his tenure, he organized a number of major exhibitions that enhanced the national profile of the Rose, including Lisa Yuskavage: The Brood (2015); Mark Dion: The Undisciplined Collector (2015); Mark Bradford: Sea Monsters (2014); Mika Rottenberg: Bowls, Balls, Souls, Holes (2014); Chris Burden: The Master Building (2014); and Walead Beshty: Untitled (2013); and secured numerous significant gifts for the collection. Previously, Bedford served as chief curator and curator of exhibitions at the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University (2008 – 2012), where he organized exhibitions featuring Nathalie Djurberg, Omer Fast, Paul Sietsema, and David Smith, as well as a nationally travelling exhibition of the work of Mark Bradford that toured to the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. From 2006 to 2008, he served as assistant curator and curatorial assistant in the Department of Contemporary Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and was consulting curator in the Department of Sculpture and Decorative Arts for the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Katy Siegel joined The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) in 2016 as Senior Curator for Research and Programming, and was appointed the inaugural Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Endowed Chair in Modern American Art at Stony Brook University in 2015. Previously, she served as curator-at-large at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University from 2013 to 2016, where she curated numerous exhibitions including Light Years: Jack Whitten, 1971 – 1974, Rosalyn Drexler: Who Does She Think She Is?, and Painting Paintings (David Reed) 1975, co-curated with Christopher Wool. Siegel also co-curated Postwar: Art Between the Pacific and the Atlantic, 1945 – 1965, with Okwui Enwezor and Ulrich Wilmes, which is currently on view at the Haus der Kunst in Munich; and High Times Hard Times: New York Painting, 1967 – 75, which toured internationally to the United States, Mexico, Austria, and Germany. Her books include “The heroine Paint”: After Frankenthaler (Gagosian/Rizzoli, 2015); Since ’45: America and the Making of Contemporary Art (Reaktion Books, 2011); and Abstract Expressionism (Phaidon, 2011).

 

THE ROSE ART MUSEUM AT BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY

Founded in 1961, the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University is an educational and cultural institution dedicated to collecting, preserving, and exhibiting the finest of modern and contemporary art. The programs of the Rose adhere to the overall mission of the university, embracing its values of academic excellence, social justice, and freedom of expression. The museum’s permanent collection of postwar and contemporary art is unequalled in New England and is among the best at any university art museum in the United States. For more information, visit www.brandeis.edu/rose.

Founded in 1948, Brandeis University is named for the late Louis D. Brandeis, the distinguished associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, and reflects his ideals of academic excellence and social justice. The only nonsectarian Jewish-founded institution of higher learning in the United States, Brandeis is one of the world’s youngest private research universities. Located west of Boston, Brandeis’ distinguished faculty are dedicated to the education and support of 3,600 undergraduates and more than 2,000 graduate students. It has been ranked among the top 35 national universities by U.S. News & World Report every year since the rankings’ inception. For more information, visit www.brandeis.edu.

 

THE BALTIMORE MUSEUM OF ART

The Baltimore Museum of Art is home to an internationally renowned collection of 19th-century, modern, and contemporary art. Founded in 1914 with a single painting, the BMA today has 95,000 objects—including the largest public holding of works by Henri Matisse. Throughout the museum, visitors will find an outstanding selection of American and European painting, sculpture, and decorative arts; works by established and emerging contemporary artists; significant artworks from China; stunning Antioch mosaics; and an exceptional collection of art from Africa. The BMA’s galleries also showcase examples from one of the nation’s finest collections of prints, drawings, and photographs, and exquisite textiles from around the world. The 210,000-square-foot museum is distinguished by a grand historic building designed in the 1920s by renowned American architect John Russell Pope and two beautifully landscaped sculpture gardens. As a major cultural destination for the region, the BMA hosts a dynamic program of exhibitions, events, and educational programs throughout the year. General admission to the BMA is free so that everyone can enjoy the power of art. For more information, visit www.artbma.org.

 

RIO TERÀ DEI PENSIERI

Rio Terà dei Pensieri is a nonprofit social cooperative that provides opportunities for work placement and social reintegration to men and women within Venice’s prisons. Rio Terà dei Pensieri trains prisoners to produce cosmetics, design and manufacture PVC bags, as well as operate a silkscreen laboratory.All products are available to the public for purchase.

Rio Terà dei Pensieri is part of a 13-member collective of social cooperatives working with incarcerated persons in the Italian prison system called FREEDHOME. This collective provides an extensive network of employment opportunities to current and formerly incarcerated persons. Participants are trained to make artisanal products, building vocational skills for future job opportunities outside of the collective network.

For more information, visit www.rioteradeipensieri.org

 

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE’S BUREAU OF EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL AFFAIRS

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) promotes international mutual understanding through a wide range of academic, cultural, professional, and sports exchange programs. ECA exchanges engage youth, students, educators, artists, athletes, and emerging leaders in many fields in the United States and in more than 160 countries. Alumni of ECA exchanges comprise over one million people around the world, including more than 40 Nobel Laureates and more than 300 current or former heads of state and government around the world. 

For more information, visit: www.exchanges.state.gov/us

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Rio Terà dei Pensieri Social Cooperative participant working in the kiosk. Campo Santo Stefano, Venice, Italy. 30 July 2016. Photo: Agata Gravante.

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