Artists News USA

Collector's difficult neighbour inspires artist Mark Bradford's installation

Site-specific work to open for 24 hours only in La Jolla house that is due to be demolished

Project Hermès by Mark Bradford. Photo: Josh White, courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth. © Mark Bradford

For one day only, Saturday 3 August, a new work by the Los Angeles artist Mark Bradford installed in a private home in La Jolla, California, opens to the public before the building is demolished. Project Hermès, named after the artist’s assistant who served as a messenger between Bradford and the collector Eloisa Haudenschild during the work’s creation, is inspired by the “fractured” psyche of the home’s former occupant.

The work takes over the home of Eloisa’s late neighbour, “who harboured deep antagonism and paranoia” towards the collector and her family, according to a press release. “I’ve heard stories about this woman for about ten years,” Bradford says, describing her as “very fractured, one person by day, one person by night”.

When Haudenschild bought the property after the neighbour’s death four years ago, the opportunity came to create a site-specific work. Bradford treated the house as a sort of “three-dimensional canvas”, painting a black line that twists around the interior, cutting across walls, carpets and windows, like a crack in the structure. “It’s a thin line between madness and sanity, love and hate,” he explains.

Project Hermès is Bradford's largest installation so far, but it sticks to his practice as an abstract painter. “I didn’t want to be Gordon Matta Clark,” Bradford says, but adds that his work on a commission for LAX airport has put him into a more sculptural frame of mind. The artist will be at the one-day opening to give an informal tour of the project.

The project is “emotionally complex” for the collector, who runs a salon-cum-foundation out of her home called the haudenschildGarage and says she had a “difficult relationship” with her neighbour over 26 years. “As time goes by, I’m getting more conflicted because I feel, there’s a certain level of unfairness to this thing,” Haudenschild says. “I am talking about someone who’s not there any more to defend herself.” But she has asked a local writer to speak on the neighbour’s behalf at the end of the opening. “She’ll be the last word for the defence.”

After the installation closes, the building will be demolished to make way for at least two new structures Haudenschild plans to build for her organisation. And a book published by haudenschildGarage will document the project.

For more into:, +1 858 454 4158

Mark Bradford working on Project Hermès. Photo: Monica Jovanovich-Kelley, courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth. © Mark Bradford
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