Mark Bradford to represent the US at the 57th Venice Biennale

Pavilion’s curator calls Bradford ‘the leading American abstract painter of his generation’

The Los Angeles-based artist Mark Bradford will represent the United States at the 2017 Venice Biennale, the Rose Art Museum of Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, announced today, 18 April. The Rose, which was threatened with closure by the university's president during the recession, will present Bradford’s work at the event. The exhibition at the US Pavilion, due to run from 13 May to 26 November 2017, will feature a new site-specific installation by Bradford, who works in a variety of media.

The Rose Art Museum’s director, Christopher Bedford, who is co-curating the US Pavilion with the critic and art historian Katy Seigel, calls Bradford “the leading American abstract painter of his generation” in a statement. Bedford and Bradford have worked together before: the artist had a solo exhibition, Sea Monsters, at the Rose Art Museum in 2014. They first met a decade ago, when Bedford was a curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. When Bedford took over the Rose in 2012, his first acquisition as director was a work by Bradford. 

Bradford, a MacArthur Genius Grant recipient in 2009, is “a vigorous advocate for the interests of under-represented urban communities in the US and beyond”, Bedford says. The artist runs a non-profit educational and cultural organisation, Art + Practice, in Leimert Park, Los Angeles, which provides life-skills training for foster youth in the area and hosts contemporary art exhibitions organised by the Hammer Museum, where Bradford had a solo exhibition last year. Bedford says there is “no artist … better positioned to represent the United States in the 21st century”.