Mark Bradford, Hauser & Wirth launch new educational project in Los Angeles –

Mark Bradford may be best known for his work in abstraction, but the Los Angeles-based artist is committed to thinking about how to change the art world – and the world at large – in new ways. concrete and tangible.

Nearly a decade ago, Bradford co-founded the nonprofit Art + Practice in the South Los Angeles neighborhood of Leimert Park with the simple idea that residents of the community shouldn’t have to travel far from home to see exciting and engaging art. More recently, he has reflected on how arts education can build community and be a tool to shed light on broader societal issues.

“Investing in education is an investment in the future,” said Bradford ART news in an email interview. “Where these resources go now and who benefits from them impacts what our society can look like in the future. With our shared commitment to social practice, it made sense to use this platform to contribute to this evolving social landscape.

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In a collaboration with education-focused nonprofit PILAglobal, Bradford and his gallery Hauser & Wirth will launch a new initiative, the Education Lab LA project, which will center on the gallery location. in downtown Los Angeles.

“Mark has always understood the impact of creative expression on young children, especially those experiencing tremendous adversity,” said Lindsay Weissert, CEO of PILAglobal. ART news.

The project involves close collaboration with 17 high school students from the Ramón C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts (often referred to as Grand Arts) which is just over a mile from the gallery. In selecting Grand Arts, Bradford said he was particularly drawn to “the diversity of its student body and its role within the local downtown Los Angeles community.”

“Education has been central to our vision and a priority since the gallery was founded thirty years ago,” said Manuela Wirth, co-founder of the gallery. ART news. “Our goal from the beginning has been to catalyze the community and forge connections between our artists and the community in every way possible. This initiative is a reflection of Mark’s long-standing commitment to social practice and the community engagement We share her passion for community development through education and have learned a lot from her own approach.

High school students wearing face masks write in notebooks.

Students at the Education Lab LA workshop at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles.
©2022 Sarah M. Golonka | smg photography/Courtesy of Hauser & Wirth

The Education Lab LA project is divided into two parts.

Last spring, the students began a series of workshops with various departments at Hauser & Wirth to learn more about how a contemporary art gallery works, particularly one on the scale of Hauser & Wirth. As well as a studio visit with Bradford, some of the workshops included a social media skills lesson by the marketing and communications team, a demonstration of the basics of art manipulation and installation by the technical team, and one in which the students virtually organized an art exhibition in collaboration with the commercial and operational teams.

“We wanted to provide students with a memorable learning experience and give them the unprecedented opportunity to gain first-hand experience in the day-to-day operations of the business,” Wirth said. “In this way, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles became their campus.”

Over the summer, students will work with Bradford and the teams at PILAglobal and Hauser & Wirth to create a visual arts project highlighting the refugee crisis and its impact. This work, which will be on view from July 16, will live in the gallery’s north breezeway, where large-scale installations are often mounted, as well as an installation in the gallery’s Book and Printed Matter Lab.

“Los Angeles is a city of immigrants,” Weissert said. “It’s important to share our own stories of origin and also to recognize the experiences of people – communities marginalized by systems of power and privilege – who are still on the move. The Education Lab is a place where we can showcase these diverse perspectives, from Los Angeles students and young learners who are still waiting for a home. »

Students and teachers on a visit to an art gallery looking at documents in a display case.

Students at the Education Lab LA workshop at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles.
©2022 Sarah M. Golonka | smg photography/Courtesy of Hauser & Wirth

This new initiative is inspired by a similar initiative that the artist piloted in 2021 at the Hauser & Wirth space in Menorca, where Bradford carried out a residency before an exhibition there. As part of his residency, he also worked with students from the Escola d’Art de Menorca on a collaborative art project also focusing on the global refugee crisis.

Bradford has been involved with PILAglobal, which is also based in Los Angeles, for the past few years, as he sees them both as sharing a “passion for education and experiential pedagogy, especially as it intersects with the urgent social and humanitarian problem of immigration.”

Part of PILAglobal’s efforts includes building “nests” or “safe havens for children to learn, play and heal away from refugee camps and migrant shelters,” according to Weissert. PILAglobal currently operates “Nests” in Greece, Mexico, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe.

“From the moment I saw how the children were transforming in the Nest, from heavy and serious to playful and cheerful children, I prayed that someone influential would share our work,” said Weissert. . “The fact that it was Mark Bradford, who always amplified the voices of marginalized communities, made it even more special.”

She added, “We believe experiential education has the power to spark new ideas, invigorate communities, and inspire change.”

Recently, Bradford and Wirth had been thinking about how to bring their collaboration home. “After receiving the project in Menorca, we thought it made sense to borrow from this model here, where the context of our southern border makes the refugee crisis much more visible,” Bradford said. One way that has happened before is to connect Major Arts students with students who participate in the Nest program in Tijuana.

And Bradford sees a program like the Education Lab as having wider implications in the art world as well. “If we are committed to increasing diversity in the art world, we must start by creating opportunities for people from different backgrounds to access them,” he said. “LA is one of the most diverse cities in the country, and I can think of no better place to offer an educational program like this to such a group of young artists.”

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