Mark Bradford Will Take Over the US Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale

He's ready for the challenge.

Mark Bradford.Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images.
Mark Bradford.
Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images.

It’s official: Mark Bradford will be representing the US at the next Venice Biennale. An influential painter in the ever-expanding Los Angeles art scene, Bradford, who is represented by Hauser & Wirth, was commissioned to take over the pavilion by the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University.

The Rose Art Museum was selected to act as the commissioning institution by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The museum’s director, Christopher Bedford (who will be co-curating the pavilion with Katy Siegel), told the New York Times, that Bradford’s connections to the “social upheaval in recent years” on issues of race and social justice “make Mark particularly topical right now.”

Mark Bradford, <em>Constitution IV</em> (2013). Courtesy of the artist.

Mark Bradford, Constitution IV (2013). Courtesy of the artist.

Bradford’s artistic reputation is sure to precede his arrival at the pinnacle of the world’s biennales. Thomas Micchelli at Hyperallergic called him “among the most gifted artists working today” in a review of “Be Strong Boquan,” at Hauser & Wirth’s New York location last year. He’s also been a hit at auction. Constitution IV sold at Phillips in London for £3,778,500 ($5,834,620) in 2015. That same year, Bradford won the US State Department’s prestigious Medal of the Arts.

The 2009 MacArthur fellow told the Washington Post that he trusts the curators, adding: “When you’re working on major things, it’s good to work with someone who you’ve had a major working relationship with. You’re already comfortable with each other before you start.”

Mark Bradford, <em>The Next Hotline</em> (2015). Courtesy of the Hammer Museum.

Mark Bradford, The Next Hotline (2015). Courtesy of the Hammer Museum.

With this announcement, Bradford will be the latest to join a prestigious club of American artists at Venice. Over the past decade, artists selected to represent the US include Joan Jonas in 2015, Sarah Sze in 2013, art duo Allora & Calzadilla in 2011, Bruce Nauman in 2009, and, Felix González-Torres (posthumously) in 2007.


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