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The Arts Intel Report

A Cultural Compass
For the World Traveler
A Cultural Compass
For the World Traveler

Mark Bradford: Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen

Mark Bradford, The Unicorn Purifies Water, 2020.

Until Feb 10, 2024

“End papers [used in hair salons] are similar to tissue paper, and are very absorbent and translucent,” the artist Mark Bradford said in 2020. “As I started adding more opaque materials, like billboard and poster paper, the paintings looked flat. That’s when I began dunking paper in water. I thought maybe if the pulp disintegrated, a little bit of light could pass through. This addition really shifted my practice.” Bradford has long been drawn to the narrative power of tapestries, no surprise seeing that his technique of “painting” with paper has the character of a textile. His new exhibition in Monaco is a series of works inspired by the “The Hunt of the Unicorn,” a magnificent 15th-century series of tapestries that resides at the Met Cloisters. In these unicorn tapestries, which read as an allegory of the crucifixion, Bradford finds a parallel to his own commentaries on slavery and racism. He means to forge a universal dialogue on the subject of persecution. —Lucy Horowitz

Photo: Stefan Altenburger/Photography Zürich/© Mark Bradford/courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth