Mark Bradford grew up in and around the hair salon that his mother owned in South Central L.A. He continued to operate the business even after the family moved to a largely white neighborhood. As a hairdresser in the business, he became fascinated by the end papers, small pieces of paper used along with curlers to keep customers’ hair from overheating during the process. He turned to making art collages out of them, and while the 58-year-old artist has since made prints, video, and installation art, he has periodically returned to painting these and assembling them into abstract pictures.
The Modern’s new show, Mark Bradford: End Papers, showcases the various works of the 6’7” artist who was profiled on 60 Minutes last summer. Some 35 pieces constructed from these end papers will be on display, offering social commentary on race relations in their medium as well as their content. Bradford’s art makes use of materials that would normally be thrown out after being used, and their use as a means to make black people’s hair curl in a precise way comments meaningfully on the artworks that they make up.
Mark Bradford: End Papers runs Sun thru Aug 9 at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell St, FW. Admission is $10-16. Call 817-738-9215.