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9 1/2 in d (24.13 m d) approx.
Mark Bradford’s generous gift to the New Museum consists of seven handmade papier-mâché and collaged soccer ball sculptures.
His untitled series of unique sculptures is made from newspaper, merchant posters from the city streets of South Central Los Angeles, and silver foil—all sanded down in Bradford’s own specific style of papier-mâché and collage, and sculptural in form. Some soccer balls incorporate the use of string, which has been inlaid by the artist and then removed—the negative space roughly delineating the form of the soccer ball.
As an African-American artist living in Los Angeles, the soccer ball sculptures negotiate notions of identity and cliché, while breaking boundaries of cultural expectations and expanding notions of art-making. As Bradford has pushed our expectations and understanding of traditional painting through his use of materials immediately accessible to him (such as the overlapping hair wraps used for permanents from his mother’s hair salon, which were a constant in earlier paintings), his untitled pieces for the New Museum are not so readily defined or grasped. Globelike, rough, and deliberately misshapen, they have the appearance of beautiful cast-offs—directly referring to the urban streets from which they emerged, both by way of material and Bradford’s unmistakable hand.
Mark Bradford was born in 1961 in Los Angeles, where he continues to live and work. He received both his BFA (1995) and his MFA (1997) from the California Institute for the Arts. He is the recipient of the Bucksbaum Award for his contribution to the Whitney Biennial in 2006. Recent exhibitions have taken place at: ArtPace, San Antonio, TX (2008); “Contemporary Projects 11: Hard Targets—Masculinity and Sport” (2008–09); “Prospect.1 New Orleans,” the Hammer Museum. Los Angeles (2008–09); “Life on Mars: 55th Carnegie International” (2008–09); “Order. Desire. Light.: An Exhibition of Contemporary Drawings,” Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2008); “Collage: The Unmonumental Picture,” New Museum (2008); “Neither New Nor Correct: New Work by Mark Bradford,” Whitney Museum of American Art (2007); “Eden’s Edge: Fifteen LA Artists,” the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2007); and “Street Level: Mark Bradford, William Cordova, Robin Rhode,” Nasher Museum, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina (2007).