Sunday, February 27, 2011

Keeping the Record Tidy for Bradford's Kinetic Sculpture (Pre-Art Car Era).

“Scrap Daddy” – Houston artist Mark David Bradford – is being honored with a 20-year retrospective at The Art Car Museum now. Art critic Douglas Britt wrote this past week:

Bradford’s 20-year survey is an unqualified triumph for a master of the art form the museum was born to celebrate — and whose emergence influenced him to increase the scale and ambition of his work. Combining motors with treasures of the scrap heap, Bradford’s art cars depict fantastical creatures and totemic figures with majesty and ferocity.

Bradford’s also known as “prolific.” I bet nobody knows that his scrap art began with different idea forms – including the four pieces in our own collection.

“Hurricane Chimes” here is the largest of the works. Mark told us years back that he imagined the drillpipe sections would swing back and forth in a high wind.

I first wrote about it in the Houston Chronicle Stormwatchers blog, when Rita came our way; the post is still on line here. I am sorry to report that HC never performed as we hoped: It didn’t ring no matter how hard the wind blew, even when Ike came through.

Doing a post about pieces purchased 20-plus years ago has its drawbacks, one of which is that no amount of writing can make these works compare with the fire-breathing motorized dragons Bradford’s been constructing the past decade or two. And even though the outdoor pieces have been repainted, they clearly can use another refurb. We have been thrilled to have them, though – our own showy art for outdoors Spring Branch.

Shown: Mark David Bradford, “Hurricane Chimes.” Steel pipe. Houston, 1989.

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