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Butch Queen

Mark Bradford (American, born 1961). Butch Queen, 2016. Mixed media on canvas, 104 1/4 × 144 1/2 inches (259.7 × 367 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; George B. and Jenny R. Mathews Fund, by exchange, and Gift of Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida, 2016 (2016:13). © 2016 Mark Bradford.

© Mark Bradford

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© Mark Bradford

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

Mark Bradford

American, born 1961

Butch Queen, 2016

mixed media on canvas

support: 104 1/4 x 144 1/2 inches (264.8 x 367.03 cm)

Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

George B. and Jenny R. Mathews Fund, by exchange and Gift of Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida, 2016

2016:13

More Details

Inscriptions

inscription / back, lower right / Butch Queen 2016

Provenance

the artist;
sold via Hauser & Wirth, New York, to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, June 21, 2016

Class

Paintings (visual works)

Work Type

Painting (visual work)

This information may change due to ongoing research. Glossary of Terms

Mark Bradford frequently draws inspiration for his virtuosic abstractions from his environment, including that of his native Los Angeles. To make Butch Queen, he collaged black and white paper to canvas, sometimes splashing the black paper with bleach and water. He then cut into the thickly stacked paper fragments with a sander, creating a layered surface that emulates the strata of paper advertisements one passes while walking on city sidewalks and also suggests the variegations of human skin. While the resulting work is abstract, the artist sees its process and materials as deeply connected to contemporary life and his own experience as a black, gay man. Indeed, Bradford’s entire practice is an argument for politically engaged abstraction, for an aesthetic that is inseparable from and dependent on communities. For example, the title of this work was borrowed from the terminology of drag performance and LGBTQ ballroom culture. Bradford dedicated the title of this heroically scaled abstraction to gay men and drag queens for whom masculinity coexists with a more feminine style. He recently observed, “I think all painting is subversively figurative, even abstract painting. The painting comes from the body, and if you look closely enough you can see the artist’s body in it in one form or another. I don’t think there is such a thing as ‘pure’ abstraction. For me, abstraction is a conceptual framework that I use to interrogate my surroundings and my relationship to them. My paintings are sent all over the place for exhibitions, but they come out of this neighborhood and out of this body, my sense of belonging to it, and also my separateness as a gay man.”

Label from We the People: New Art from the Collection, October 23, 2018–July 21, 2019

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