U.S. Pavilion Opens With Mark Bradford's Tomorrow Is Another Day

U.S. Pavilion Opens With Mark Bradford's Tomorrow Is Another Day

Tomorrow Is Another Day, featuring new work by Mark Bradford, is presented by 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, at La Biennale di Venezia 57th International Art Exhibition. Co-curated by Christopher Bedford, BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director and Commissioner for the project, and Katy Siegel, BMA Senior Programming and Research Curator, Tomorrow Is Another Day is Bradford's reflection on his personal and artistic journey, as well as the history of crisis in modern America-both of which culminate in his historic commission for the U.S. Pavilion.

Tomorrow Is Another Day reflects Bradford's belief in art's alchemical power to transform, his continuing experiments with material abstraction, and his commitment to marginalized populations. For the five galleries of the U.S. Pavilion, as well as its exterior, Bradford has developed a multilayered narrative that intertwines personal experience and social history, seeing today's world as if it were the ancient past and raising individual stories to the level of myth, a perspective that reveals the gravity of the present moment. Tomorrow Is Another Day features paintings and sculpture that bring back materials used earlier in the artist's career, as well as some new discoveries, and includes an existing video work that gains new relevance in the current political climate.

"We are thrilled to present Tomorrow Is Another Day on this international stage," said Bedford, BMA director and former director of the Rose Art Museum. "The exhibition and Process Collettivo sociAl Cooperative project embody the distinct combination of formal and social interests that define Mark Bradford, and which make him a truly timely representative for the United States in 2017. As much as these projects represent Bradford and the conditions that influence him, they also exemplify his pluralistic and inclusive vision of the world-a vision that redefines what it means to be both an artist and a citizen."

In conjunction with the U.S. Pavilion exhibition, Bradford has embarked on a six-year collaboration with Venice nonprofit sociAl Cooperative Rio Terà dei Pensieri, which provides employment opportunities to men and women incarcerated in Venice who 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, and is open to the public in conjunction with the La Biennale di Venezia.

"Tomorrow Is Another Day is the culmination of my personal and artistic process leading up to this incredible moment of representing the United States, but it also addresses the difficulties experienced by so many others who are trying to create foundations for themselves and find their footing," said Bradford. "The exhibition is not just about me, but about all of those who feel like they're on the periphery. My collaboration with Rio Terà dei Pensieri is an essential part of my process, creating sustainable platforms for people who don't have these opportunities."

A pioneering figure in contemporary art, 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 stimulates 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.

"Mark has a virtuosic ability to make art that speaks to, and for everyone," said Siegel. "Tomorrow Is Another Day is the ultimate manifestation of his generous and democratic vision of art and the world. Not only has he created some of his most spectacular and ambitious work to date, but he also reveals the greatest extremes of his vision-the darkest and most joyful we have ever seen from him."

This year marks the second time that the 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. This will be the first time that the Rose Art Museum, whose mission affirms and advances the values of freedom of expression, academic excellence, global diversity and social justice that are the hallmarks of Brandeis University, will be serving as a commissioner.

A fully illustrated catalogue, published by Gregory R. Miller & Co., is available in conjunction with the exhibition Tomorrow Is Another Day. Edited by Katy Siegel and Christopher Bedford, the publication features essays by Anita Hill, Peter Hudson, Sarah Lewis, Katy Siegel, and Zadie Smith, and Christopher Bedford's extensive interview with Mark Bradford.

This project has been generously supported by The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State; Henry Luce Foundation; Hauser & Wirth; The Broad Art Fund; Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida; Lizbeth and George Krupp; Cindy and Howard Rachofsky; Maryland State Arts Council, Part of Maryland Department of Commerce; VIA Art Fund; Mafia Papers Studio; Jennifer and John Eagle; Maurice and Paul Marciano Foundation; Lambent Foundation; and Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

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

TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY

Tomorrow Is Another Day takes visitors through a progression of installations that incorporate themes and figures from Bradford's personal life, Greek mythology, and the universe-introduced before the visitor even enters the U.S. Pavilion. Two large slabs of cement board titled Hephaestus are positioned on the Pavilion's façade, engraved with a poem by Bradford that foreshadows the galleries inside. Bradford redirects visitors from the main entrance framed by classical columns to an entry on the side of the building-in effect, sending them through the servants' door. Inside the Pavilion, a swollen mass with a black and red pockmarked surface bears down on visitors from above, pushing them to the periphery of the room and forcing deft navigation of the space. The obstructive sculpture forces viewers to the margins, placing us in the role of powerless and vulnerable surrounding a collapsing centralized social power structure. The work's title, Spoiled Foot, draws from the story of Hephaestus, god of the forge, who was cast from Mount Olympus for being born lame. Also the god of artists and of makers, he is a figure for Bradford.

In his new series, featured in the second room of the Pavilion, Bradford returns to the themes explored in his best-known and first mature work from the early 2000s with an established command of the material and the confidence to push painting as far as it can go. Having worked alongside his mother for decades in her beauty salon, Bradford's use of endpapers carries broader themes of labor, socioeconomics, and politics. Returning to this material for the first time in a dozen years, Bradford incorporates the endpapers in shimmering black-purple paintings; as Siegel points out, "their liquid, fathomless depths embody the formal innovation of his working method-soaking paper in large basins-and also evoke the sea and its passages." For Bradford, the Sirens represent the allure, the abuse, and the rage of women, in private life and in popular culture. They surround a new sculptural work, Medusa, a tangle of bleached black paper locks. Bradford draws on accounts of Medusa as wronged by Poseidon-not horrifying, but beautiful and powerful.

Oracle is a site-specific installation in the rotunda of the Pavilion. Here Bradford has created a work that is not only original and specific to the Biennale, but entirely new in his oeuvre, and within the recent history of art. Using skeins of bleached and black paper, the artist transforms the rotunda, molding the interior space. He transports us back in time to the ancient grotto, a site between cave and altar, between nature and culture, where oracles would deliver profound truth and predictions.

In the fourth room, a suite of monumental canvases explore the relation between intimate biology and the grand cosmic perspective. Created with commercial paper which the artist bleached, soaked and molded by hand, these paintings suggest both the building blocks of life and heavenly bodies. The exhibition's namesake, Tomorrow Is Another Day, is vast, its circles and lines evoke cells and the body, as well as planets. According to Bedford and Siegel, "These paintings vividly represent the sense of organic process that animates the entire Pavilion, and Oracle in particular, invoking the fragility and wonder of life. Bradford speaks to specific social contexts, as is so often noted. This installation embraces as well the most basic material conditions that touch us all."

Concluding the progression through the Pavilion, a single video work by Bradford, Niagara from 2005, takes on new meaning for both the artist and the contemporary viewer, in which black identity continues to evolve and "Black Lives Matter" is an ongoing national conversation. The video depicts Melvin, the artist's former neighbor, walking away from the camera, just as Marilyn Monroe did in the 1953 film of the same name. We feel the abstracted, invisible violence that threaten retribution for Melvin's self and sexuality, and his agency in insisting on walking into another tomorrow.

PROCESS COLLETTIVO: Rio Terà dei Pensieri / Mark Bradford

Process Collettivo is informed by Bradford's distinctive vision and leverages the world stage of La Biennale di Venezia to foster a deeper understanding of the limitations of penal systems. The collaboration supports a sociAl Cooperative model that addresses some of those limitations by creating a bridge of opportunity for inmates and those recently released. Launched in conjunction with the Biennale, the collaboration is manifest in a storefront space in the Frari district of Venice. Developed and programmed by Rio Terà dei Pensieri and Bradford, the storefront sells artisanal goods made by Venice prison inmates; provides opportunities for employment to formerly incarcerated individuals; and functions 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 support Rio Terà dei Pensieri in expanding and sustaining the cooperative for years to come. Throughout Process Collettivo, Rio Terà dei Pensieri and Bradford are assessing the project's impact in improving the lives of former inmates and aiming to reshape the negative perceptions surrounding the penal system and the formerly incarcerated. The collaboration will continue to evolve over a six-year period.

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 paper to 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 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. Beginning November 2017, the artist will present Pickett's Charge, a monumental commissioned cyclorama of paintings at the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.

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). In 2009, Mark Bradford was the recipient of the MacArthur Foundation 'Genius' Award, and in 2014, he received the U.S. Department of State's Medal of Arts.

ABOUT THE COMMISSIONER/CO-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 Bradford: Sea Monsters (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. 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, 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).

ABOUT LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA

The Venice Biennale dates to 1895, when the first International Art Exhibition was organized. It is one of the most important international biennials and cultural institutions in the world, introducing hundreds of thousands of visitors to exciting new art every two years. Open to the public from Saturday, May 13 to Sunday November 26, 2017, at the Giardini and the Arsenale, the 57th International Art Exhibition, titled VIVA ARTE VIVA, curated by Christine Macel and organized by La Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta, features work by 120 artists from 51 countries. The Biennale Arte 2017 also includes 87 national participants in the historic Pavilions at the Giardini, at the Arsenale, and in the historic City Center of Venice. Four countries will be participating for the first time: Antigua and Barbuda, Kiribati, Nigeria, and Kazakhstan.

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

Founded in 1914, The Baltimore Museum of Art is a major cultural destination recognized for engaging diverse audiences through dynamic exhibitions and innovative educational and community outreach programs. The BMA's internationally renowned collection of 95,000 objects encompasses more than 1,000 works by Henri Matisse anchored by the famed Cone Collection of modern art, as well as one of the nation's finest holdings of prints, drawings, and photographs. The galleries showcase an exceptional collection of art from Africa; important works by established and emerging contemporary artists; outstanding European and American paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts; ancient Antioch mosaics; 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 gardens featuring an array of 20th-century sculpture. The BMA is located in Charles Village, three miles north of the Inner Harbor, and is adjacent to the main campus of Johns Hopkins University. 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

ORGANIZATION & SPONSORS

Mark Bradford's Tomorrow Is Another Day, the official U.S. presentation at the La Biennale di Venezia 57th International Art Exhibition, is organized by the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University and The Baltimore Museum of Art, and is presented by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of Statement. The exhibition is produced with the collaboration of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice (Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York).

This project has been generously supported by The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State; Henry Luce Foundation; Hauser & Wirth; The Broad Art Fund; Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida; Lizbeth and George Krupp; Cindy and Howard Rachofsky; Maryland State Arts Council, Part of Maryland Department of Commerce; VIA Art Fund; Mafia Papers Studio; Jennifer and John Eagle; Maurice and Paul Marciano Foundation; Lambent Foundation; and Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

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