Mark Bradford: The Next Hot Line

This painting was included in Mark Bradford’s 2015 solo exhibition, Scorched Earth, at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. Born in LA, Bradford explores the histories of place—the 1992 uprisings in the city, for example—through a unique painting process. Bradford begins by applying layers of paper—construction paper, advertisements, posters, and newsprint found in the city—to a stretched canvas, securing each layer with clear shellac. The artist will sometimes embed string into the layers. Once the layering is complete, Bradford excavates the surface, removing the string and using power sanders to reveal layers below, a method he describes as “both décollage and collage,” referring to his process of equally removing and building up an image. Sometimes the textual clues from posters remain while other times the source is transformed beyond recognition. The results are abstract and topographical, hinting at a striated landscape revealed through natural erosion or mechanical digging.

A 2009 MacArthur Fellow, Bradford represented the United States in the 2017 Venice Biennale. In 2014, the artist, along with Allan DiCastro and Eileen Harris Norton, co-founded Art + Practice, a Los Angeles nonprofit dedicated to providing transition-age foster youth free access to contemporary art exhibitions and programs.

The Next Hot Line is a temporary loan on view in the Delaware Art Museum’s Lynn Herrick Sharp Gallery until mid-summer. Stop by on your next visit to take in its textural surface and rich, dimensional details.

Margaret Winslow
Curator of Contemporary Art

Image: The Next Hot Line, 2015. Mark Bradford (born 1961). Mixed media on canvas, 84 1/4 x 108 1/4 inches. Private Collection, California. © Mark Bradford. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.