ABOVE: Mark Bradford, James Brown is Dead (detail), torn and pasted printed paper, 47¾" x 267" , 2007. © Mark Bradford; Courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York.
finding another underneath. It’s the … details that point to people saying, ‘We exist; we were here.’ ”6
back toward the reduced palette and the grid. It is reminiscent of his end paper collages (2000-2004).
With That Ass, They Won’t Look At Your Eyes is primarily black and silver and the grid of posters that serve as its base is subtle but clear. The subtly colored grid seems to be Bradford’s current tendency, after several years of complex and colorful compositions such as Los Moscos (2004) and Black Venus (2005) that look like starbursts or aerial views of meandering roads of ancient cities. Pinocchio is on Fire (2010), a magnificent installation of a grid of solid grey, graphitecoated pages may have been a turning point
In Niagara, Bradford filmed the backside of his young neighbor, Melvin, as he walked down the urban street near his home in Leimert Park, an area known to be the center of the African-American artistic activity in Los Angeles. Melvin wears baggy shorts but sachets his hips and is fearless in his effeminacy. The video’s title derives from the 1953 film Niagara that featured a 16-second shot of the back of Marilyn Monroe in a tight, black skirt walking away from the camera. Art historian Katy Siegel says, “Melvin’s walk
is a protest, a refusal to hide or to be someone else, an insistence on his right to exist.”7 With That Ass, They Won’t Look At Your Eyes and Niagara together become an assertion of individual freedom. Like Jericho of a decade ago, they signal a determined prosperity in the face of the threat of injustice.
K ATE B ONANSINGA
D I RECTO R STANLEE AND GERALD RUBIN CENTER FOR THE VISUAL ARTS