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PaperMark Bradford

July 31, 2008

In this film, Mark Bradford describes his quest for the perfect materials while creating his 2006 mixed media collage Ridin’ Dirty in his Los Angeles studio. “I always say, well, what I need is not here,” says the artist. “So I just have to make myself available to the universe. So I start walking, looking for paper, looking for the right paper. I’ll know it when I see it.”

Through a unique combination of collage and painting, Bradford’s work addresses various aspects of urban life through layered, warped, and partially liquefied paper, twine, and glue.

More information and credits


Producer: Susan Sollins & Nick Ravich. Camera: Bob Elfstrom. Sound: Ray Day. Editor: Monte Matteotti. Artwork courtesy: Mark Bradford.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Interested in showing this film in an exhibition or public screening? To license this video please visit Licensing & Reproduction.

Mark Bradford

Mark Bradford transforms materials scavenged from the street into wall-size collages and installations that respond to the impromptu networks—underground economies, migrant communities, or popular appropriation of abandoned public space—that emerge within a city. Drawing from the diverse cultural and geographic makeup of his southern Californian community, Bradford’s work is as informed by his personal background as a third-generation merchant there as it is by the tradition of abstract painting developed worldwide in the twentieth century. Bradford’s videos and map-like, multilayered paper collages refer not only to the organization of streets and buildings in downtown Los Angeles, but also to images of crowds, ranging from civil rights demonstrations of the 1960s to contemporary protests concerning immigration issues.

“I always say, well, what I need is not here.
So I just have to make myself
available to the universe.

So I start walking, looking for paper, looking for the right paper. I’ll know it when I see it.”

Mark Bradford

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Politics, Process, and Postmodernism

Artist Mark Bradford discusses his process and sources of inspiration, as well as his work’s relation to politics and postmodernism.

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