Mark Bradford (American, b.1961) is an installation and conceptual artist currently working out of Los Angeles, CA. Bradford’s artistic work is varied and is presented in multiple mediums such as collaged paintings, videos, installations, and sculptures. He studied art in Valencia, CA, at the California Institute of the Arts, earning a BFA in 1995 and an MFA in 1997.
Bradford’s early years were spent working at his mother’s hair salon, where he created signs for the salon and later worked as a hairdresser. This influence can be seen in his early works, with the use of permanent-wave endpapers, foil, and dye being prevalent parts of his collages. Bradford expanded on his use of found materials as he developed his artistic style, incorporating everything from peeling movie posters to salvaged plywood into his layered, abstracted creations. The result is a combination of collage and paint.
Bradford isn’t afraid to tackle tough subject matter in his work. The majority of his pieces deal with issues of race, gender, and class in American society. His first survey expedition, Mark Bradford, shows the breadth of his work. Pieces created from 1997 to 2010 are included, featuring installations, paintings, sculptures, and videos. The survey expedition is presented by Ohio State University’s Wexner Center for the Arts. His work has been exhibited at locations including the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco. Other well-known works by Bradford include A Thousand Daddies, Across 110th Street, and Help Us. Help Us is an especially poignant piece, for which Bradford created an installation on the roof of the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh for the 2008 Carnegie International. The installation, inspired by the victims of Hurricane Katrina, can only be seen by aerial view; it spells out the words "HELP US." Bradford has won several awards for his work, including the Nancy Graves Foundation Grant in 2002, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award in 2003, the Bucksbaum Award in 2006, and the MacArthur Fellowship in 2009. Bradford’s work can be seen at the Sikkema Jenkins & Co. gallery in New York.