The many layers of Mark Bradford’s work

150622_r26648-320Calvin Tomkins at The New Yorker:

Bradford had recently installed a major sculpture at the Los Angeles International Airport, and we went to see it the next morning. On the way, he told me that he used to get his mother to drive him to LAX so that they could have dinner there and watch the planes take off and land. Later, as a teen-ager, he’d skip school and take the bus. “I loved the old Pan Am terminal, the international one,” he said. “I’d see a plane land from Switzerland or Ghana or someplace, and I’d run to where the passengers were getting off and pretend to be getting off with them. First time I ever heard foreign languages. I’d push the Smarte Cartes back into the terminal and collect a dollar each for my lunch money.”

His sculpture was clearly visible from the main entrance to one of the international terminals—a four-sided wooden structure, suspended from the skylight at the far end of the departure hall. Bradford called Sarah Cifarelli, the airport’s art manager, on his mobile phone; while we waited for her to arrive, he said that he’d wanted to make something that felt both ancient and modern—a cross between a medieval bell tower and “that thing for sports events, the Jumbotron.” The sculpture, called “Bell Tower,” was made of aluminum, paper, and weathered plywood sheets, stained and graffitied from years of being used as barricades. (He’d salvaged them from construction sites.)

more here.