The Essentials: How to Understand Mark Bradford’s Art Through 4 Key Works Currently on View at Hauser and Wirth

Mark Bradford, Johnny the Jaguar (2023). Courtesy of the artist and Hauser and Wirth. Photograph by Joshua White.

“Me saying hi to you is me welcoming you into the space and saying I see you, I see you,” said Mark Bradford to those gathered at the opening of his new exhibition “You Don’t Have to Tell Me Twice” at Hauser & Wirth’s 22nd Street gallery (on view through July 28). Bradford’s warmth hearkens back to his early days as a hairstylist, when he’d wave to every new customer to walk through the door.

Expressive and down to earth, the 61-year-old Bradford is known for such genuine moments of connection, even as his work has become canonical. In 2017, he represented the United States at the Venice Biennale, and in 2018, his painting Helter Skelter set a world record for the highest purchase price ever paid for a single work by a living African American artist, when it sold at auction for $12 million with fees.

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