By Lauren Whitney

DENVER (CBS4) – Mark Bradford is one of the country’s most renowned contemporary artists. This year, he’ll be one of the representatives of the United States at the Venice Biennale, which is one of the most prestigious art and cultural institutions in the world.

For an artist, having work curated at the Biennale is the highest honor. And one of his latest exhibitions is about to open at both the Denver Art Museum and the Clyfford Still Museum.

exhibit 3 Color Inspires Collaboration In New Shade Exhibit

Mark Bradford (credit: CBS)

“Shade: Clyfford Still/Mark Bradford” pairs Bradford’s work next to Still’s, the artist Bradford admires most.

Bradford said of Still: “I was more drawn to Clyfford Still because of the group, he was rougher. He barked. He was just rougher, so maybe I like that because I am a little rougher too.”

Becky Hart, curator of the exhibition, said “In Clyfford Still, a power the courage to use the color black. The courage to push formal composition, and that really attracted Mark.”

exhibit 2 Color Inspires Collaboration In New Shade Exhibit

CBS4’s Lauren Whitney interviews Becky Hart. (credit: CBS)

Before the show, Bradford said “Black is like Voldemort. It will cause you to fail. It is the most difficult color to work with, but yet it is for me the most satisfying. It has that depth to it. It has, like, fear and possibility for me.”


Bradford’s work is made of a variety of colored paper. He bleaches them and manipulates the paper to achieve the look and colors he wants. Black is one of his dominate forces.

exhibit 5 Color Inspires Collaboration In New Shade Exhibit

(credit: CBS)

“They use black intentionally. One because it is such a difficult color to use in a composition, and of course, for Mark Bradford, its reference to race,” said Hart.

Civil rights and social issues are common thread for both artists in this show. Bradford selected the Still paintings with dark colors to be in the show next to his pieces.

exhibit 1 Color Inspires Collaboration In New Shade Exhibit

(credit: CBS)

Bradford was inspired by his predecessor to use the abstract form to address social issues.

“I think that a great artist is an artist who is willing to take risks and that’s what Mark Bradford is doing. And that’s what Clyfford Still did,” Hart said.

exhibit 4 Color Inspires Collaboration In New Shade Exhibit

Hart (credit: CBS)

“Shade: Clyfford Still/Mark Bradford” opens on April 9.

Watch meteorologist Lauren Whitney on CBS4 News on weekday evenings at 5, 6, 6:30 and 10 p.m. Check out her bio, connect with her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @LaurenCBS4.


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