America Is Hard to See

Solo en Inglès

Kids can listen and learn from this audio guide highlighting selected works in America Is Hard to See.

Mark Bradford (b. 1961). _Bread and Circuses_, 2007. Found paper, metal foil, acrylic, and string on canvas, 134 1/4 × 253 1/2in. (341 × 643.9 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from Patrick and Mary Scanlan 2008.42. © Mark Bradford

This collage by Mark Bradford is so big—at first, it might seem as if you should step back in order to see the whole thing. But come in close. It’s most interesting when you dig into the details.

Bradford found the materials for this work on the streets of a neighborhood in Los Angeles called South Central, where he grew up. There are advertisements, posters, and scraps of paper from all over. It’s kind of hard to tell exactly what any of them are, because Bradford pasted so many layers on top of each other. Then he painted over some of them, or sanded down their surfaces. He also put twine all over the surface, and sanded that down—which creates a network of lines all over. Everything ends up seeming very mixed together. For Bradford, that mix tells a kind of story about South Central, a neighborhood where people of many races and ethnicities live together. As he says, you might find a “Mexican taqueria next to the black wig shop across the street from the Korean nail shop.”

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