Los Angeles, CA – For the inaugural edition of Frieze Los Angeles, Mark Bradford has created an image of a police body camera isolated on a light-colored background. Entitled Life Size, this significant work comprises the powerful camera image presented on posters around the city, a large-scale billboard on location at Paramount Pictures Studios, as well as a limited-edition print series of the image, rendered into a 3-D sculptural work that is elevated from the print’s surface.
“I’m always interested in found objects and how context can give meaning,” said Bradford. “The police body camera carries with it such loaded and complex connotations. I also love it as an object—it’s both haunting and resonant.”
At the artist’s behest, proceeds from sales of his limited-edition print series will go directly to the Art for Justice Fund, to be invested in campaigns to support greater career opportunities for people who are transitioning back home from prison. Bradford is the first artist since the Fund’s establishment to directly support Art for Justice with proceeds from the sale of their own artwork.
“I admire Mark as both an artist and a humanitarian. His work helps us confront our own biases by exposing the false narratives around race and poverty. In doing this, he enables us to see one another with more compassion and empathy,” said Fund founder Agnes Gund. “I’m honored by his gift, which will accelerate our artists and advocates’ efforts to create communities that welcome people back home to fewer barriers and to more employment opportunities.”
Art for Justice takes a holistic approach to confronting the primary drivers of high prison population, in part, by eliminating the thousands of legal barriers to employment that often confront people with a criminal record and boosting investments in reentry policies that recognize the importance of higher education in prison. Bradford’s donation will support organizations including the Bard Prison Initiative, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, The Opportunity Institute and the Vera Institute of Justice in addition to fellowships for artists whose work speaks to the devastating consequences of mass incarceration and the web of legal obstacles that entangle people post incarceration.
In 2019, a police body camera has clear evocations around responsibility and notions of freedom across the United States, and specifically in Los Angeles, as one of the most culturally- and racially-diverse cities in the nation, which has its own charged history with these themes. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Bradford’s interest in our shared human experiences is a theme that runs throughout his diverse studio practice.
Life Size, contextualized by this collaboration with Frieze Los Angeles and Art for Justice, reflects the artist’s longstanding interest in how communities—particularly those which have been traditionally marginalized—address issues of social and economic justice, as well as his belief in art’s ability to expose contradictory histories and inspire action in the present day. Bradford is deeply engaged with social issues as co-founder of Los Angeles-based nonprofit Art + Practice, which encourages cultural education by supporting the needs of foster youth living predominantly in South Los Angeles, and providing access to free, museum-curated art exhibitions and moderated art lectures to the community of Leimert Park. The artist’s equivalent commitments to formal intervention and social activism anchor his contribution to culture at large and embody his belief in the power of art to affect positive change.
Life Size is made possible thanks to a collaboration between the artist, Frieze Los Angeles, Endeavor and Hauser & Wirth.