Artist Mark Bradford discusses his eponymous retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art

The MacArthur “genius” grantee’s eponymous retrospective opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art May 28.
Photograph: Fredrik Nilsen Mark Bradford
By Lauren Weinberg |

In addition to your opening-night talk at the MCA May 26, you’re speaking at Trinity United Church of Christ (400 W 95th St, 773-962-5656) Sunday 22. Why speak at a church?
Oftentimes, in the art world, you see the same constituency over and over again. A large population of black folks go to church. So I thought, Well, I’ll go to a church and give a visiting artist’s talk. It’s really just recontextualizing what I do.

Why did you incorporate supplies from your mother’s hair salon into your early works?
I was interested in abstract painting, but I wasn’t after the same ideas [as the New York School]. I was interested in people, cultures, relationships. So, using a material that simply had a use value, I felt that the social, political complexities could not be totally erased.