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Rockbund Art Museum
2015.01.31 Sat - 2015.03.03 Tue
Opening Exhibition
01/31/2015 17:00
20 Huqiu Road, Huangpu District Shanghai 200002
+86 21 3310 9985
Opening Hours
Thursday-Saturday 10am - 9pm;
Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday 10am - 6pm
Larys Frogier

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Mark Bradford:The Tears of a Tree-Upcoming exhibition at Rockbund Art Museum
[Press Release]

Press Release

Media Contact:Lucie Yang



January 31 – May 3, 2015

Mark Bradford: Tears of a Tree

Rockbund Art Museum, No. 20 Huqiu Road, Shanghai, China

With the support of: Rockbund, Shanghai

Curated by Clara Kim

The Rockbund Art Museum is pleased to present the first major museum exhibition in Asia of the celebrated Los Angeles-based artist Mark Bradford. Commissioned specifically for this presentation, three monumental collage paintings will fill each of the gallery floors of the museum.

These exuberant new works titled The Tears of a Tree, Falling Horses and Lazy Mountain are inspired by the artist’s visits to Shanghai and what he found to be the dynamic melding of disparate cultures, economies and functions in the city—the sprawl, heavy industry, old port city, the French Quarter, and the glamour of the nouveau riche.

Coming across old colonial era maps of Shanghai at a local market, the artist became interested the partitioning of the city during the international zone period; the changes to the Chinese address system under the imposed Japanese system; as well as the pre-industrialization landscape of the city—in other words, the mapping and remapping of the city, and the molding and remolding of the physical landscape over many decades. The paintings are informed by this context, and the massive change in the urban landscape that he witnessed in the two visits he made over the last five years.

Each of the 12-meter long paintings, created by the nuanced layering and removal of paper, will be installed in RAM’s galleries which will be stripped down in its architecture, exposing the windows of the building normally covered up to create an enclosed white cube. This simple gesture, conceived by the artist as part of the installation, will not only bring daylight into the space but will create a physical and symbolic connect into the city, bridging Bradford’s art with RAM’s early 20th century building and the waterfront of the Bund—the historic center of the former British and American concession.

Additionally, the exhibition will also include a grouping of new sculptures titled The Loop of Deep Waters. Suspended on the fifth floor gallery, the buoy-shaped forms made up of his signature materials—paper, caulking agents and cords are characterized by rugged surfaces that seem to contain the layers of time while floating in space. Together, the works evoke an therworldly universe, where perspectival shifts and forces of gravity operate by an alternate set of rules toimagine a poetic, almost magical landscape of abstraction.

A four-color catalogue will be published in conjunction with the exhibition. The publication will provide curatorial context for the newly commissioned work. The catalogue will include a foreword by RAM director Larys Frogier; an essay by exhibition curator Clara Kim; and an essay by Doryun Chong, chief curator of M+, Hong Kong. The publication will be bilingual—in English and Mandarin, and distributed internationally.

About the Artist

Mark Bradford was born in 1961 in Los Angeles, where he lives and works. Since the late 1990s, Mark Bradford has garnered critical attention for his dynamic practice that redefines the tradition and legacy of painting. Employing unconventional techniques and processes, his works are expansive, cartographic abstractions that are informed by the rhythm of city life and the complex systems of alternative economies that flow and mark the urban landscape. His paintings are in fact made without paint, but instead are textured and layered surfaces that are built up through a process of accretion and erasure. Using materials he gathers from the neighborhood around his studio in South Los Angeles including billboards and merchant posters, Bradford works and reworks the surfaces of his canvas using polyester cord, caulking, bleaching agents, and commercial sanders as well as other materials like end papers used in hair salons and carbon paper. Often sited with the ‘affichiste’ motivated by the underground, informal systems that exist in communities of scarcity, neglect and 3 ingenuity. His work deals with “the invisible underbelly of a community,” as he states, and is notable for its exuberant abstract language as it is for its sense of vigor and urgency in capturing the flow and change of contemporary society.

He has exhibited widely including groups shows such as the 12th Istanbul Biennial (2011), Media Biennial (2006). Solo exhibitions include Sea Monsters at the Rose Art Museum (2014), Merchant Posters at the Aspen Art Museum (2011), Maps and Manifests at Cincinnati Museum of Art (2008) Neither New Nor Correct at the Whitney Museum of American Art (2007). In 2009, Bradford was the recipient of the Mac Arthur Foundation ‘Genius’ Award.

In 2010, You’re Nobody (Til Somebody Kills You)—a large-scale survey of his work—was presented at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus before traveling to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Dallas Museum of Art; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

About the Curator

Clara Kim is an independent curator based in Los Angeles. She was the senior curator at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis from 2011-14 and the director/curator at REDCAT in Los Angeles from 2007-11. Prior to those positions, Kim worked in curatorial departments at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Art Institute and the Renaissance Society in Chicago.

Recent curatorial projects include Album: Cinematheque Tangier, a project by Yto Barrada and Minouk Lim: Heat of Shadows both for the Walker Art Center; a mid-career survey of Mexican sculptor Abraham Cruzvillegas presented at the Walker, Haus der Kunst, Munich and Fundacion Jumex/Museo Amparo, Mexico; Paulo Bruscky: Artist Books and Films, 1970-2013 at Galeria major international conference State of Independence: A Global Forum on Alternative Practice as part of a multi-year research project funded by the Warhol Foundation.

Kim received a BA at the University of California, Berkeley and a MA at the University of Chicago. She sits on the advisory board of the Kadist Foundation San Francisco, Rockbund Art Museum, East of Borneo, and West of Rome Public Art; and is researcher of the Asian Cultural Complex in Gwangju, Korea. She has served on juries for Hugo Boss Asia Art Award, Sundance Film Festival, Alpert Award in the Arts, Creative Capital Foundation and United States Artists.


About Rockbund Art Museum

The Rockbund Art Museum is a contemporary art museum which plays one of the finest roles in the creative art scene worldwide. Since its opening in 2010, Rockbund Art Museum has achieved high renown for its exhibitions of acclaimed Chinese and international artists. The Rockbund Art Museum is the first contemporary art museum in China that is fully devoted to supporting contemporary art production and creativity. The deep involvement of the Rockbund Art Museum aims to elevate contemporary art and energize the Chinese and international art scenes. This involves exhibiting artworks which represent the most relevant and exciting challenges for contemporary arts, such as Cai Guo Qiang, Peasant Da Vincis (2010), Paola Pivi, Share, but it’s not fair (2012); contributing to the production of unseen and on-site artworks, such as Michael Lin’s Model Home (2012); and inviting curators to revisit the practice of exhibitions, such as Hou Hanru’s curation of By Day by Night; collaborating with acclaimed international institutions to explore the foremost issues in contemporary art, such as the exhibition From Gesture to Language (2013) co-curated with Pascal Torres Guardiola, Curator of Chalcography at the Louvre and of the Edmond de Rothschild Collection; and inventing the strong platform to support the artistic explorations of emerging artists from across Asia, the on-going project of award, exhibition, research and education of HUGU BOSS ASIA ART (from 2013).

The Rockbund Art Museum is where artists and curators can develop art projects that require specific and often strong needs. It embraces various creative practices to bridge various disciplines such as design, architecture, dance, and to promote powerful established artists as well as emerging art projects. RAM strives to spread humanistic values and to promote art by offering all audiences the best conditions in encountering artworks, and by being dedicated to the research, exchange, and promotion of contemporary art. The recently launched research and education platforms open the museum up for collaboration with universities, foundations and colleges, and for the co-organization of a wide range of activities in the form of lectures, seminars, screenings, performances, workshops and educational programs.

The Rockbund Art Museum envisions itself as an open and vibrant museum that strives to provide support to contemporary artists and curators, to confront daring challenges for a creative contemporary art scene, and to generate lively programs of exhibitions and cultural events. In this way it becomes one important part of the cultural production and education mechanism of contemporary society. For more information on RAM, please visit www.rockbundartmuseum.org.


As an integral element of the historic Bund waterfront, Rockbund is situated at the birthplace of modern Shanghai with her dazzling array of architectural styles. In order to protect this valuable aspect of the urban fabric and cultural heritage, the Rockbund preservation and development project has the stated aim of “restoring the original style and remodeling its function.” The project stretches from Yuanmingyuan Road and Park 33 in the east, Suzhouhe Road in the north, Huqiu Road in the west and Beijing Road in the east, and sits at the confluence of the Huangpu and Suzhou rivers. Aside from restoring eleven protected historical buildings, Rockbund will also build six new buildings with the goal of creating a high-end luxury district with a captivating environment for luxury retail, fine-dining, serviced apartments and commercial offices, recreating the glamour of Shanghai for a new age. With the opening of the Rockbund Art Museum, the first of the eleven historic buildings, Rockbund is re-establishing the origin of the Bund as a hub for arts and culture.

For more information on Rockbund, please visit www.rockbund.com.