Arts / Museums

The Pandemic Kept the Doors Closed on His Historic Solo Exhibit, but Mark Bradford’s Vision Finds a Way

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth Brings the Conversation to the Streets with Modern Billings

BY // 06.16.20

Our Texas cities are slowly reopening, but many museums have decided to err on the side of caution and remain shuttered a little while longer. We’ve received press releases that a few organizations plan to open in the coming weeks and at the beginning of July.

Before they open, we hope you continue to enjoy our “Museums Delivered” series, which takes a cue from the restaurant industry’s robust to-go services. PaperCity provided our online and social media platforms to our friends at cultural institutions around the state. Curators and other museum staff took the DIY approach and shot videos with their smartphones.

We’ve received their insights into paintings from recently opened exhibitions, as well as favorite works from the permanent collection. We’re thankful that our friends at institutions in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston have allowed us inside — virtually — to enjoy some art when we need it most.

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth’s Modern Billings project
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth’s Modern Billings project

Taking the conversation out of the galleries and onto the streets — literally, via billboards — has been the impetus to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth’s Modern Billings program since the museum’s partnership with Clear Channel Outdoor began. Given the recent weeks of peaceful protests in support of Black Lives Matter, the series may be more poignant than ever.

In November 2018, The Modern’s assistant curators of education, Jesse Morgan Barnett and Tiffany Wolf Smith, began inviting artists to use billboards along Jacksboro Highway and the Lancaster corridor (traditionally platforms for commercial purposes), to share their images and texts. Past contributors have included Texas artists Stephen Lapthisophon, Christopher Blay, and Alicia Eggert, but the fifth and current iteration of the Modern Billings series sees Mark Bradford sharing his vision on Fort Worth area billboards.

The Los Angeles-based artist selected three images from the archives of Bradford’s long-time friend, Cleo Hill-Jackson, founder of the African-American Cosmetology Hall of Fame. The billboards highlight images of the late Mr. LaMarr, a former hairdresser to St. Louis high society and a close friend of Hill-Jackson.

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  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - DALLAS (ROOMS)
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth’s Modern Billings project
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth’s Modern Billings project

The Modern opened the historic solo exhibition, “Mark Bradford: End Papers,” shortly before the order came to shelter-in-place. The basis for this Los Angeles-based artist’s show is works employing end papers, the translucent paper squares used by African-American salons to protect hair during the permanent-wave process, which Bradford learned to use during this days as a hairdresser in his mother’s beauty salon in South Los Angeles.

Take a listen to the newest video in the “Museums Delivered” series where Barnett and Smith discuss the Modern Billings project.

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