Street Level: Mark Bradford, William Cordova & Robin Rhode
examines the work of three early-career contemporary artists for whom the streets of their respective cities act as fluid, living sources of inspiration. The full-color catalog accompanies the three-person exhibition on view from March 29, 2007 through July 29, 2007 at Duke University’s Nasher Museum of Art. For these artists, found objects and performative gestures help build the foundation for their art, which includes painting, works on paper, sculpture, photography, video, installation, and other mixed media. Together they reinterpret the urban vernacular to engage critical issues of class, geography, and race in contemporary society.
Mark Bradford is best known for abstract collages made largely from accumulated signage taken from the streets of South Central Los Angeles that he tears, bleaches, sands, and embellishes to reconfigure the urban landscape. These visible remains and the residual human energy in urban spaces become the foundation of Bradford’s work. William Cordova works primarily with found paper and everyday objects to create drawings and mixed-media installations; some materials and iconography—such as books, speakers, tires, and albums—are recurring images that allude both to Cordova’s Peruvian heritage and modern urban subcultures. Inspired by graffiti, film, sports, and hip-hop, as well as his personal experiences in the rough neighborhoods of Johannesburg, South Africa, Robin Rhode’s performances involve the build-up and erasure of chalk drawings on the walls of public spaces and galleries that playfully transform his renderings into illusory three-dimensional objects through the artist’s physical engagement. This richly illustrated catalog includes an essay about each artist.