In addition to new exhibitions and artists on display, the Rose offers another piece of exciting news—Mark Bradford, a frequent collaborator, visitor and contributor to Brandeis and the Rose, will be the representative for the United States at La Biennale di Venezia 57th International Art Exhibition. The Rose, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, had the privilege to select Bradford to display his work at this elite and noteworthy venue.
The Venice Biennale began in 1895 as a City Council project that sought to develop a national art exhibition, and very quickly expanded to become a renowned international art exhibition. Today, the Biennale welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors from all corners of the world. The 2015 Venice Biennale brought in 136 artists hailing from 53 countries. In a new innovation to an old tradition, digital renditions of some exhibitions are posted online for view, made possible by the Google Cultural Institute in collaboration with the the Biennale. This year’s Biennale will be directed by Christine Macel, Chief Curator of the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris. A new Biennale is sure to usher in even more original and cutting-edge exhibitions.
Bradford is recognized for his powerful abstract works as well as the deep seated social commentary present in his work. His early work is influenced by the informal communities of Los Angeles and their social movements, and is represented through scavenged materials that form collages and installations. Bradford draws on the spatial arrangement of cities and urban life in addition to the energy of crowds in demonstrations and protests. His art centers heavily upon themes of community, space and social justice.
One of Bradford’s most notable contributions is his nonprofit, “Art + Practice,” a private operating foundation that provides important skills and opportunities to the inhabitants of Leimert Park in Los Angeles. It also serves as a living example of the importance of art to promote a vibrant and healthy community. Bradford has been at Brandeis several times to discuss his work, which parallels the strong focus of the Brandeis community on social justice and community service. His nonprofit brings free art and enrichment programs to foster-youth and to the community as a whole. Bradford is a key innovator in the art world and uses his artistic prowess to uplift the community of Leimert Park while also shining light on the value of cultural exchange and variety. His work epitomizes new efforts to transform our world by placing modern art at the center of social work and therefore facilitating its circulation most effectively and democratically.
Brandeis is lucky to have a part in the excitement of this year’s Venice Biennale, thanks to the work of Mark Bradford. While visiting the Biennale may be out of reach for the local Brandeis community, the Rose will offer thrilling exhibitions that are easily accessible and open to Brandeis as well as to the public. The Rose Art Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., beginning Sept. 11, and reserves Tuesdays for Brandeis class visits. Admission is always free.