The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presents The Mark Bradford Project, a yearlong audience participation residency connecting the artist with the Chicago community. This project leads up to the Mark Bradford exhibition, the first survey of the artist’s work to date, on view at the MCA Chicago, May 28–September 18, 2011.
Art is not something outside of their experiences. It lives right there with them.
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 ChicagoTags: YOUmedia (Re)Connect collaboration exhibition Elena Goetz
Every other Wednesday, the TMBP team meets to plan activities related to the residency project, such as Mark’s February visit, and to discuss the project’s overall development. MCA staff members from five departments come together to share ideas, observations, and insights about our connections to the community. Agenda items include Mark’s collaboration with the youth groups, invitations to events, the blog, the exhibition, and the opening night. Each person leaves the meeting with a handful of action items at the top of a to-do list. An inevitable gaffe or laugh brings a light note. The TMBP team shapes this residency side-by-side with the artist, community partners, and museum leaders, intent on connecting the artist and museum with people all over the city.
Led by Erika Hanner, the Beatrice C. Mayer Director of Education, our discussions frequently address how to best organize Mark Bradford’s time in Chicago. We talk about the groups and individuals associated with the project and brainstorm about potential participants and audiences. How can this project appeal to diverse groups and what does our city and community offer to Mark?
One of the core elements of The Mark Bradford Project is collaboration with the youth groups. Recently teens participated in a videoconference with Mark, getting a glimpse of his LA studio. The students presented their projects, and Mark gave suggestions for further developing their ideas. This week, Mark visits Lindblom and YOUmedia in person to work with them directly.
The Mark Bradford Project is an opportunity to experience a deep resonance with the artist’s work and his vision. Through his interactions with the youth artists, we can witness his connection with their daily mapping of the city. With the blog, we invite participation in current residency topics and activities. With the Mark Bradford exhibition, opening May 28, we offer an impressive body of work from one of today’s most dynamic artists. We look forward to your participation, either online or in person, at any time over the course of The Mark Bradford Project.
Standing, left to right: Erika Hanner (Beatrice C. Mayer Director of Education), Marissa Reyes (Polk Bros Associate Director of Education), Chaz Olajide (Associate Director of Marketing and Social Media), Jackie Terrassa (Associate Director of Education, Public Programs), Elena Goetz (Youth and Family Programs Coordinator), James Goggin (Director of Design, Print, and Digital Media) Seated, left to right: Tricia Van Eck (Associate Curator), Angelique Power (Director of Communications and Community Engagement), Mia Wicklund (Blog Administrator) Not pictured: Karla Loring (Director of Media Relations), Sarah Wambold (Multimedia Manager)Lindblom TMBP team YOUmedia videoconference Mia Wicklund