THE GETTY FOUNDATION in Los Angeles announced Mark Bradford is the recipient of the 2024 Getty Prize. Bradford makes large-scale paintings composed with layers of paper. Both abstract and conceptual, the work explores social and political structures and the adverse ways they impact the lives of vulnerable populations.
The Getty Prize gives Bradford the opportunity to name a nonprofit to be awarded a $500,000 grant. The artist and the organization he selects in the coming weeks will be celebrated at the annual Getty Prize dinner on May 13, 2024.
Established as the Getty Medal in 2013, the annual award originally focused on achievements in the areas of art, research, conservation, and philanthropy, the foundational interests of the Getty Trust. The medal was generally bestowed upon two to three recipients. This year, the award is being re-introduced as the Getty Prize with an individual recipient, a leader “whose work expands human understanding and appreciation of arts and culture,” who in turn is able to bring attention to and help fund the work of a nonprofit of their choice.
“We are thrilled that the Getty Prize will now recognize not only personal achievements and contributions to the cultural sector but will also actively support the work of other not-for-profit organizations working in the sector by providing the awardee with the opportunity to pay it forward,” said Katherine E. Fleming, president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust.
“Mark Bradford is an exceptional artist whose thought-provoking work often sheds light on societal issues and has captivated audiences in his hometown of Los Angeles and well beyond.”
Bradford, who lives and works in Los Angeles, is ideally suited for the Getty Prize, both in terms of the substantive focus of his artistic practice and the charitable concerns that have long intertwined his work. A decade ago, Bradford co-founded Art + Practice in Leimert Park with philanthropist Eileen Harris Norton and Allan DiCastro, a neighborhood activist, who is also the artist’s partner. The private foundation blends art and social services, hosting exhibitions and related programming while also focusing the needs of local, transition-age foster youth.
“Mark Bradford is an exceptional artist whose thought-provoking work often sheds light on societal issues and has captivated audiences in his hometown of Los Angeles and well beyond.” — Getty Trust CEO Katherine E. Fleming
This combination of art and social engagement has also shaped many of Bradford’s international exhibitions. In 2017, for example, when the artist represented the United States at the 57th Venice Biennale with a solo exhibition in the American Pavilion (“Tomorrow is Another Day”), he partnered with a local nonprofit called Rio Terà dei Pensieri to establish reintegration opportunities for people incarcerated in the city of Venice. “Tomorrow is Another Day” traveled to the Baltimore Museum of Art in 2018 and Bradford worked with Greenmount West Community Center, a nearby community art space serving Black youth, families, and seniors, to support arts education and launch a screenprinting studio.
In 2021, “Mark Bradford: Masses and Movements” inaugurated Hauser & Wirth’s new space in Menorca. The exhibition was accompanied by a pair of collaborations: an education lab created with students from Escola d’Art de Menorca and an initiative launched with PILAglobal, a nonprofit that provides innovative education “that sparks curiosity, creativity and critical thinking” to children worldwide whose families live in refugee camps, migrant shelters, or abject poverty.
Currently, “Mark Bradford: Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” is on view at Hauser & Wirth Monaco (Sept. 29, 2023-Feb. 10, 2024). In Washington, D.C., “Mark Bradford: Pickett’s Charge,” a monumental eight-panel, 360-degree installation, opened at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in 2017. Spanning 400 linear feet, the ongoing commission confronts American history, exploring the past and present through the Civil War and the final charge at the Battle of Gettysburg.
With the Getty Prize, Bradford is joining an impressive group. The inaugural recipients of the Getty award were Harold M. Williams and Nancy Englander, who were celebrated for their leadership roles in the creation of the J. Paul Getty Trust in 1981. Over the past decade, honorees have also included Martin Puryear, Alice Walton, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Lorna Simpson, Ed Ruscha, Thelma Golden, Agnes Gund, Frank Gehry, Ellsworth Kelly, Mario Vargas Llosa, Yo-Yo Ma, and Richard Serra.
“I am deeply honored to be among the illustrious recipients of the Getty Prize,” Bradford said, “and am grateful for this opportunity to bring such generous support to a non-profit organization of my choosing.” CT
FIND MORE In 2015, Calvin Tomkins write an extensive profile of Mark Bradford for The New Yorker
FIND MORE about artist Lorna Simpson receiving the Getty Medal in 2019 on Culture Type
“Mark Bradford: Tomorrow is Another Day” was published on the occasion of the artist’s Venice Biennale presentation and “Mark Bradford: Pickett’s Charge” documents his exhibition at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Recent volumes dedicated to the artist also include “Mark Bradford” from Phaidon’s Contemporary Artists Series and the exhibition catalog “Mark Bradford: End Papers.” Also consider “Mark Bradford: Scorched Earth” and “Mark Bradford: Merchant Posters.” Bradford’s work was also featured in “A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration,” which was published to accompany the recent traveling exhibition featuring newly commissioned works by 12 artists. Forthcoming, “Mark Bradford: Process Collettivo” will be published by Hauser & Wirth in 2024.
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