In some areas, there are recognized superstar names – Tom Brady in the NFL, LeBron James in the NBA for example. Mark Bradford may not rival those as far as household name recognition, but he’d be their equivalent in the contemporary art world.
To put it into perspective, one of Bradford’s works sold for nearly $12 million in 2018. Such in-demand works are what makes SMoA executive director Jessimi Jones excited for the acquisition.
“It is such a huge deal for us to have ‘Red Painting.’ Bradford is one of our most acclaimed artists and this is a great opportunity for the museum and for Springfield to have it on display,” she said.
"Red Painting," a large artwork from Mark Bradford, one of the top contemporary artists working today, is part of a new exhibition that just opened at the Springfield Museum of Art. Courtesy photo
Credit: Dan Bradica
Credit: Dan Bradica
Bradford, a Los Angeles native, is known for his abstract collage works, created from scavenged materials he finds in urban areas such as newspapers, scraps of old posters, string, fishnets and other items others would dismiss as junk. He uses them to explore the complexities of urban life such as socioeconomic, racial, gender and political structures.
The mixed media on canvas piece is huge, roughly 8-by-11-feet, commanding its own wall in the museum.
“I’ve heard people compare it to a map, with what looks like caulking that has been peeled off and reconstructed,” Jones said of “Red Painting.” “His work is really layered. Seeing an image isn’t the same as seeing it in real life.”
The “Discarded/Sourced” exhibition includes five other works from the SMoA’s permanent collection featuring art using found and pieced objects, such as one that includes nails and two from artist Purvis Young.
“Red Painting” is the second work loaned to the museum from the Crabills’ collection. Last summer, “Kusama’s Pumpkin,” a large bronze sculpture from another famous artist, was a popular attraction.
Jones is grateful for having patrons such as the Crabills willing to share their collection. Scott Crabill is a Springfield native now living and working in San Francisco.
“Art is a big interest of theirs,” she said. “He grew up with one of our board members and loaning these works creates significant community interest here more so than in a place like San Francisco. These are works that could be loaned anywhere, but they chose us. We are very fortunate to be able to borrow works of this caliber.”
The SMoA is located at 107 Cliff Park Rd. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults and free for members and children ages 17 and younger.
For more information, see the museum’s social media pages.