Art is not something outside of their experiences. It lives right there with them.

— Mark Bradford, about the youth artists from Lindblom and YOUmedia, whose work is currently on display in (Re)Connect, an exhibition at a Pop-Up Art Loop Gallery, 205 S. State Street, Chicago. 

Tags: Mark Bradford lindblom YOUmedia exhibition students quote
 | 2 notes, comments | Posted 3 years ago by mbproject

Vocalo Features: The Mark Bradford Project

As a community partner for The Mark Bradford Project, WBEZ’s Vocalo is remixing media content to produce three chapters about the project. Focusing on Bradford’s own experience with arts education, and including an interview with youth artist, and Lindblom senior, Renee Alvarez, the first chapter airs tomorrow at 3 pm on 89.5 FM.  Hear it now at

Our thanks to Sarah Lu!

Photo: Mark Bradford admiring Renee Alvarez’s College Dress. Photo by Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.

 | 0 notes, comments | Posted 3 years ago by mbproject

Exhibition Opening Tonight!

"Skinny Jeans" is a track Mark created for his multimedia installation, Pinocchio Is On Fire. The song expresses Mark’s interest in relationships between clothing and identity in pop culture. (May contain strong language.)

Text wall installation

Text installation

Above photos: MCA preparators installing part of Pinocchio Is On Fire on the front wall of the atrium. Text is created by peeling away layers of white paint from drawings of previous artists’ projects. Over the past 15 years, the front wall has been the site of wall drawings by many artists, including Sol LeWitt, Franz Ackermann, and Damien Hirst.

MCA plaza banner

Join us for the Mark Bradford exhibition opening tonight, 6:30-9 pm. Tickets are $20, and free for MCA members.

Photos: Mia Wicklund © MCA Chicago

Tags: Pinocchio Is On Fire installation preparators exhibition Skinny Jeans Mark Bradford
 | 1 note, comments | Posted 3 years ago by mbproject

Student exhibition opening tonight!

Join us for the opening of (Re)Connect at Pop-Up Art Loop Gallery, 205 S State Street, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm.  Free and open to the public!

(Re)Connect features artwork created by 15 students from Lindblom Math and Science Academy, a Chicago Public School, and six teenagers from YOUmedia, a drop-in digital and media program at the Harold Washington Library. The exhibition includes photographs, paintings, sculptures, installations, and works in a variety of digital media, including sound and video. Inspired by Mark Bradford’s work and his practice, students at Lindblom responded to the related themes of journeys and mapping. Students at YOUmedia responded to specific works by Bradford, reinventing and remixing to create their own artworks.

May 26 - June 2, 11:30 am - 5:30 pm
Closed Sundays and Memorial Day

Photos: Nathan Keay © MCA Chicago

Tags: (Re)Connect exhibition students Lindblom YOUmedia highlight
 | 1 note, comments | Posted 3 years ago by mbproject
The youth have moved from production to presentation, conversing with Mark to explore installation ideas.

— Elena Goetz, MCA Coordinator of Youth and Family Programs, about preparing for the student exhibition, (Re)Connect

Tags: Elena Goetz exhibition installation quote highlight
 | 1 note, comments | Posted 3 years ago by mbproject

From production to presentation

YOUmedia encourages critique, conversation, and collaboration. Each time I walk into the space, I see teens gathered in groups chatting together, playing Rock Band as “band mates,” listening to someone’s new audio track, sharing out poetry with mentors. Within all these shared experiences, the youth are listening to each other’s ideas, contributing their own, appreciating differences, and propelling themselves to better understand their own ideas. As part of The Mark Bradford Project, the option of who you could critique, converse, or collaborate with has included some additional faces, including Mark Bradford. 

Now, with the culminating exhibition of this work, (Re)Connect, set to open next week, the youth have moved from production to presentation, spending time thinking about how their artworks exist in an exhibition space. Recently, the teens visited the MCA and Skyped with Mark to explore installation ideas. They are hungry for suggestions and information, and seem energized by the various ways that artists choose to display work. They are revising their work and thinking about the experience of the viewer. The youth process this new mode of thinking with great openness and excitement. It is so beneficial, maybe even critical, to have an encouraging environment of critique, conversation, and collaboration already in place, which YOUmedia provides. As I see it, this allows for risk-taking to take place and thus meaningful processes and experience to occur. That’s what I like to call, The Mark Bradford Project.

Check out a slideshow of a recent “Mark Bradford Monday” when youth came to the MCA to explore the exhibition Without You I’m Nothing: Art and Its Audience and spent time talking about their artwork for (Re)Connect with curator Tricia Van Eck. 

— Elena Goetz, MCA Coordinator of Youth and Family Programs; Images of (Re)Connect installation at Pop-Up Art Loop Gallery, 205 S. State Street, Chicago, IL; Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

Tags: YOUmedia (Re)Connect collaboration exhibition Elena Goetz
 | 3 notes, comments | Posted 3 years ago by mbproject

Design for Bradford

As graphic designers at the MCA, we look to the artist and the artwork for direction when we create a graphic identity — or visual “look” — for an exhibition. The ideas and forms used in the work inform our decisions about choosing a typeface, colors, size, etc. We walk a fine line between complementing and elevating the artwork, and overstepping and distracting from the work. Our goal is to communicate the feeling of what a show is about in the clearest and quickest way possible.

The form that the “identity” takes ranges from large-scale wall exhibition graphics, marketing materials (print ads, bus shelters, billboards, banners), and web graphics, to printed matter such as books, gallery guides, and more. Everything we create must work together as a family and feel part of a whole.
For the Mark Bradford exhibition and The Mark Bradford Project, we got our inspiration from the merchant posters that Mark uses in his paintings. We were inspired by the simplicity and immediacy of the messages, and how the sum total of the posters tells the story of a community. In the same way, we worked with the idea of combining multiple elements to tell the story of Mark’s exhibition and his residency activities with Lindblom and YOUmedia.

In a somewhat unconventional fashion, we chose to feature a portrait of the artist in the promotional materials. For us it felt right, as Mark’s presence has been as integral to the overall project as his paintings. We chose a very tall, bold font, bright colors, and large type for high impact and clear communication. These posters will be wheat-pasted around the city, communicating in a similar fashion as the merchant posters Mark uses in his work.

Scott Reinhard, MCA Senior Designer; Poster © MCA Chicago; Artwork © Mark Bradford; Portrait photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Tags: merchant posters graphic design communication Scott Reinhard
 | 1 note, comments | Posted 3 years ago by mbproject

The Mark Bradford Opening

As an MCA staff member in Membership, one of the best parts of my job is getting the chance to meet and interact with artists as their opening events are planned. Every Members’ Opening is born out of the Development office, and keeping the artist and our members of all levels in mind, we try to create an event that will fully reflect the artists’ work and personality. With Mark Bradford, this experience was particularly fun, and Mark’s infectious inspiration helped fuel our creativity as we started to develop his opening activity months in advance.

Mark began his relationship with MCA staff members by hosting a discussion where he presented his thoughts, passions, and opinions about art and community. While Mark Bradford’s creative residency was still taking shape, he talked about the importance of community and how it influences his art. In planning for the opening he challenged us to reach out to our community in new ways with a specific emphasis on being all-inclusive, to inspire new audiences throughout Chicago. With his ideas in mind, we went to work planning the Mark Bradford Opening with a public component as our centerpiece.

The MCA prides itself on being an active community organization, so we are more than excited to welcome the community to this event by offering a paid ticket option. To highlight the importance of Mark’s interaction with the Chicago community, we have invited the students and teens involved in The Mark Bradford Project, from Lindblom Math and Science Academy and Digital Youth Network’s YOUmedia program at the Harold Washington Library, and their families.

With all this considered, we are very pleased to invite you to the Mark Bradford Opening on May 26 from 6:30 to 9 pm. Member tickets are free, and public tickets are $20. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres from Wolfgang Puck, a cash juice and alcohol bar, and fresh beats from DJ Kid Color. And don’t miss an engaging discussion in the MCA Theater at 7 pm.

In this discussion, you can learn more about the artist behind this exhibition. Kym Pinder, associate professor and chair of the Department of Art History, Theory and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute, facilitates a conversation with Mark, Erika Hanner, Director of Education at the MCA, and students from Lindblom and YOUmedia. Gain behind-the-scenes insight into The Mark Bradford Project, hear the voices of key participants from the Project speak about their interactions with Mark, and understand Mark’s passion for connecting students to art in various communities. I look forward to seeing you at the Mark Bradford Opening for this incredible show and to celebrate art in Chicago!

— Jen Rhodes, MCA Membership Assistant; Images (top to bottom): Mark speaks to MCA staff, photo by Erica Sanko; Mark helping out in the office, photo by Mia Wicklund. © MCA Chicago

Tags: exhibition opening
 | 1 note, comments | Posted 3 years ago by mbproject

Pinocchio Is On Fire

Preparators working on Mark Bradford’s multimedia installation, Pinocchio Is On Fire, in the MCA atrium this week.

Mark Bradford’s Pinocchio Is On Fire, 2010. Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York. Photos: Mia Wicklund, © MCA Chicago

Tags: Mark Bradford Pinocchio Is On Fire atrium installation preparators
 | 3 notes, comments | Posted 3 years ago by mbproject

the importance of the arts in communities and schools

Mitch Anderson, Co-Chair of the Artists in Residence Ministry at Trinity, shares his perspective and pinpoints why art matters. 

This spring at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago has been a busy time in the visual arts. In addition to our 11th Annual Art Exhibit, we’re exhibiting Black Comics, as well as a memorial exhibit to arts pioneer Margaret Burroughs, and culminating with a visit from Mark Bradford on May 22, a world-renowned visual artist. Mark has chosen Trinity (from any on the globe!) as the church home to whom he’s bringing his message of art and community!!

But as you may have noticed, these activities stand in stark contrast to what we see in our country today; political partisanship has fueled attitudes ranging from apathy, to outright hostility towards the funding and valuation of art programs across the country.

Compelling research demonstrates participation in arts programs help children read and write better, be more focused in class, raise test scores, develop higher self-esteem, and solve problems more creatively. Art programs involve communication, interpretation and understanding of complex symbols similar to mathematics and foreign languages. Learning these skills helps to develop high order analytical skills as well as skills of evaluation and synthesis. Many art programs make the child regularly use different skills in turn making them very dynamic and versatile. This helps children form positive attitudes about themselves and others while building self-esteem. 

So what can we do? Despite the art-challenged atmosphere in which we find ourselves, there are many ways to fight back! There are numerous ways you can experience the arts. For example, taking a young person (and an open mind!) to the nearest art gallery or museum—Mark Bradford’s opening at the MCA on May 26 would be a great start! 

Mitch Anderson

Mitch Anderson’s artwork include illustrations used in magazines and publications, as well as gallery pieces focused on the human form. His exhibitions include the South Side Community Art Center auction, and the Black Creativity exhibit, on display at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. Photos (top to bottom): Mitch leads a recent youth workshop ”Drawing Superhero & Funny Comics”; youth Summer Project, a mural commemorating Trinity’s dedication of it’s “George Washington Carver” garden and Farmer’s Market; Mitch with young workshop participants. All photos provided courtesy of Trinity United’s Artists in Residence.

Tags: Mitch Anderson Artist in residence Trinity United Church participation
 | 15 notes, comments | Posted 3 years ago by mbproject
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