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Mark Bradford
B. 1961, Los Angeles. Lives and works in Los Angeles.
Mark Bradford  has turned his life experiences into art that, while largely abstract, embeds messages of community, awareness, and social justice. Kingdom Day (2010), in the collection of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, for example, incises a map-like network into a deconstructed and collaged billboard advertising the 1992 Los Angeles Kingdom Day Parade. This absorbing composition celebrates the first time a multi-ethnic committee organized the parade, an annual event honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and his commitment to non-violent change. Yet through its raw and stratified surface, the painting also evokes the brutal violence of the 1992 riots that followed the acquittal of the police officers involved in the Rodney King beating. Like much of Bradford’s art, Kingdom Day offers a multi-layered and nuanced view of black history and the dynamics of urban life.
Nick Cave
B. 1959, Fulton, Missouri. Lives and works in Chicago.
Nick Cave’s multifaceted performance, installation, and sculptural practice has crafted formations of black identity and community in past and present adverse times. “Nick Cave: Rescue,” an exhibition this past year at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts that was organized by curator of contemporary art Jodi Throckmorton, illuminated the dialectics of privilege and servitude surrounding such formations. With sitting dog figurines enthroned on a chaise lounge and barrel chairs throughout the American art collection, Cave upended static relationships of power. Found materials gleamed next to Thomas 
Eakins’s anatomical studies of dogs, which presided over a salon-style installation including Winslow Homer’s Fox Hunt (1893) and queried works of “oriental fantasy.” While walking through the galleries with Cave, multilayered conversations among the works accumulated, testifying to his sculptural ability to shape urgent communal dialogue.

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