For no eyes only: Mark Bradfords quarantine paintings push the bounds of virtual art viewing

Installation view, Mark Bradford: Quarantine Paintings, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, 2020 © Mark Bradford Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth Photo: Joshua White / JWPictures

Online viewing rooms have become the norm for galleries to showcase work made during lockdown or scheduled pre-pandemic. But this week, the Los Angeles-artist Mark Bradford pushes the format further, introducing a conceptual overlay to what many have considered merely a stopgap until the art world reopens. The hybrid exhibition, Quarantine Paintings, presents a new series created during the countys stay-at-home order, and unfolds in both the digital and physical realms, via Hauser & Wirths virtual platform, as well as its brick-and-mortar one.

Heres the catch: although the canvases hang in what was formerly a mill for the Globe Grain & Milling Company atop the gallerys downtown LA complex, nobody can see them in-person. Viewers experience the paintings exclusively online, through detailed images of their surfaces, alongside installation shots of the same work, equally inaccessible to collectors and the public. “When I thought about having an online show right now, I knew that I was not going to mimic what I do in a gallery,” says Bradford of a framework that reflect the lonliness of social distancing. “I was determined to find a way to occupy this digital space and also talk about the moment that were in. I kind of did it DIY and got a U-Haul, put the paintings in the back of a truck and lugged them up to the third floor. I wasnt really thinking of an exhibition, so much as a happening.”

Mark Bradford Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Sean Shim – Boyle

Bradford likens the environment to an archaeological ruin, as if someone knocked a wall down and stumbled on these paintings, unsure how long theyve been there. “It felt like the space itself had been excavated,” he adds. “There were all these ghosts. But thats exactly what it felt like as you drove down Read More – Source

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