Mark Bradford, ‘Untitled (Corner of Desire and Piety) III’, 2008, ARCHEUS/POST-MODERN

Untitled (Corner of Desire and Piety) III is a work from Bradford's seminal series of "Merchant Posters". The original printed posters, collected by Bradford, are brightly coloured local advertisements that target the area's vulnerable lower-income residents.

"The sheer density of advertising creates a psychic mass, an overlay that can sometimes be very tense or aggressive. If there's a 20-foot wall with one advertisement for a movie about war, then you have the repetition of the same image over and over--war, violence, explosions, things being blown apart. As a citizen, you have to participate in that every day. You have to walk by until it's changed."

Untitled (Corner of Desire and Piety) III uses posters from the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans and advertise propane delivery to the FEMA (The Federal Emergency Management Agency) trailers that housed the displaced in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The hurricane was the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States: 80% of New Orleans became flooded and large tracts of and the floodwaters lingered for weeks. FEMA provided housing assistance (rental assistance, trailers, etc.) to more than 700,000 applicants - families and individuals, the majority from the already impoverished black community. Only one-fifth of the trailers requested in Orleans Parish were supplied however, resulting in an enormous housing shortage in the city of New Orleans.The, at times, impossible struggle of the New Orleans poor as they fought to rebuild their lives with little help from a shockingly inept government response became an international scandal.

The title of the work is a metaphor for the impossible: the corner of Desire and Piety does not exist. The streets run parallel through the Lower Ninth Ward and never intersect. This work directly relates to the monumental 72-panel Corner of Desire and Piety in the Broad Museum in Los Angeles.

Signature: Signed, titled and dated verso

Aspen Art Museum, Mark Bradford, February 11 - April 4, 2010

Mark Bradford: Merchant Posters, exh. cat., Aspen Art Museum, 2010, no. 83, pp. 126, 153 (illustrated)

Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

About Mark Bradford

Fabricating his signature mixed-media collages with ephemera such as segments of billboards, flyers, and graffitied stencils, American artist Mark Bradford’s works marry his interests in modernist abstraction with the urban community from which he culls his materials. These ambitious, visually arresting works are striking for their simultaneous incorporation of physical remnants of a site and semi-figurative depiction of a scene or topography. In Kryptonite (2006), for example, Bradford amasses a dense grid of collaged materials that seems to delineate the aerial view of a city while visually recalling iconic modernist artwork such as Piet Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie (1942-43). Bradford also creates public art, installations, and video, often exploring the relationship between high art and popular culture and between materiality, surface, and image. Bradford is a recipient of the Whitney Museum's Bucksbaum Award and was a 2009 MacArthur Fellow.

American, b. 1961, Los Angeles, California, based in Los Angeles, California

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