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21 Jul 2017

Mark Bradford: Tomorrow Is Another Day

Biennale di Venezia, United States Pavilion, Giardini

Reviewed by Rob Mackenzie

Spoiler alert: the U.S. pavilion at the Venice Biennale is a set-up.

Enter the side door. Be forced by a bulging mass to hug the wall, even knock into a contractor's floor-light, as my companion did. Be confronted by near-black, 10-foot multimedia canvases and a convoluted brown and black mass deposited where a statue might have been.

Traverse a Jeffersonian cupola that could pass for a tenement stairwell. Face more huge canvases that could have come off a battleground, or a cotton field. Watch a video of a black man stride confidently away from the camera without a backward glance.

Finally exit into a trash-strewn gravel courtyard as you walk on even more of Mark Bradford's muscular installation.

Perhaps only if you are African-American, have read or listened to this engagingly direct artist - so clearly comfortable in his own space - or have paused, before entering, to read "Hephaestus," his eloquent Middle Passage poem, are you prepared for what is about to hit you.

Exhibition Mark Bradford: Tomorrow Is Another Day link
Start date 13 May 2017
End date 26 Nov 2017
Presenter Biennale di Venezia link
Venue United States Pavilion, Giardini, Venice, ITA map
Image Installation view, Mark Bradford: Tomorrow Is Another Day, Biennale di Venezia, courtesy of the artist

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