Social Space brings together the work of four renowned American artists: Mark Bradford, Leonardo Drew, Julie Mehretu, and Wangechi Mutu. In their art, they share a commitment to abstraction, not only as a means of powerful image making, but also as a politically conscious act. In their depictions of labor, race, and conflict, these artists highlight sociopolitical markers and visual remnants of collective experience and the social fabric from which they emerged.
The term ‘Social Abstraction’ has been associated with Bradford’s practice of combining society’s emphemera with the now 100-year-old genre of abstraction. Bradford’s art reflects “the white noise out there in the streets,” using the discarded materials of urban life. Drew’s paper casts employ processes of weathering, decay, and absence. These are themes the artist links to the housing projects and adjacent landfill where he lived as a child and teen. Countering utopian urges, Mehretu’s dense works resemble complex maps of social networks, upheaval, and human migration, and Mutu’s dismembered relic-like forms evoke past violence and conflict.
Drawn from the vast Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation, the featured works in this exhibition span a period of time from 2003 to 2018 and demostrate a broad range of printmaking techniques, from intaglio and lithography to pigmented paper casts. In addition, sculptural multiples have been included for this special exhibition.