Through Darkest America by Truck and Tank, Mark Bradford

Celia White, Studio International, reviews Mark Bradford's show at White Cube, London. I posted on Bradford's exhibition at Sikkema last December. 

The show’s title – Through Darkest America by Truck and Tank – references a chapter in Dwight D Eisenhower’s 1967 memoir At Ease: Stories I Tell to Friends, in which the former president reflects on his time as a member of the transcontinental motor convoy of 1919 and in Germany during the second world war, both of which inspired his establishment of a nationwide highway system in the US in the 1950s. Bradford addresses this major turning point in America’s geographical, economic and social history with a kind of celebratory cynicism. One the one hand, the introduction of these major roads as part of a master plan for the layout of the country was to the detriment of local communities, many of which were literally torn apart by the new roads. On the other, the ideas that underpin America’s “greatness” are akin to, and dependent on, many of the fundamental characteristics and possibilities offered by a nationwide road system: size, speed, the possession of land, and the ability to travel to greener pastures in order to make something of oneself. Bradford’s monumental collages are a double-edged exploration – both pejorative and obsessive – of modern and postmodern America.  more
Mark Bradford. Biting the Book, 2013. Mixed media on canvas, 102 5/16 x 144 11/16 in. © Mark Bradford. Photograph: Ben Westoby. Courtesy White Cube.

Mark Bradford. Dusty Knees, 2013. Mixed media on canvas, 102 x 144 in. © Mark Bradford.
Photograph: Ben Westoby. Courtesy White Cube.

Mark Bradford. Receive Calls On Your Cellphone From Jail, 2013. Mixed media on canvas, 150 panels, each: 53 3/8 x 34 3/4 in. © Mark Bradford. Photograph: Ben Westoby. Courtesy White Cube.
 

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