The Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA) unveiled today a new logo and visual identity designed in collaboration with renowned artist Mark Bradford. Bradford was unanimously chosen by ICA LA to reinterpret the museum’s visual identity on the occasion of their recent name change from Santa Monica Museum of Art and planned move to a new location in downtown Los Angeles.
Evoking the brightly colored posters found along the streets of the city, Bradford’s design derives from a sensibility that is unique to the urban landscape of Los Angeles.The new identity captures the vibrancy ofICA LA as the museum redefines its programming and reinvents its future space in the downtown Arts District. Opening fall 2017, the 12,700-square-foot location—designed by wHY, under the direction of founder Kulapat Yantrasast—will house expansive galleries, an education annex, indoor/outdoor café, and a garden.
“Mark’s dynamic logo not only captures the spirit of ICA LA and conveys a sense of place, but also provides immense inspiration as we envision our new identity and home,” states Elsa Longhauser, ICA LA Executive Director. “We are thrilled to collaborate with our longtime friend and colleague as the museum embarks on this exciting chapter.”
Mark Bradford is internationally admired for multi-layered collage paintings that are built up into intricate, mysterious layers combining rigorous process with embedded narratives about social and political forces. Utilizing such ephemera as billboards, flyers, and graffitied stencils, he often explores the relationship between high art and popular culture, and between materiality, surface, and image. Bradford’s logo design for ICA LA appropriates the trade signs that advertise services and events throughout Los Angeles, echoing a style made iconic by the former, locally based Colby Poster Printing Company. By using public images that connect the city’s many neighborhoods, Bradford extends his interest in mapping communities and transforming every day materials.
“I wanted to be a part of propelling ICA LA and its long history in Santa Monica forward as it moves to its new home in downtown,” says Bradford. “The logo and treatment reference merchant posters found from LA’s Westside to Eastside, which point to the fluidity of both economics and culture.”
Bradford’s work has previously been shown at the Santa Monica Museum of Art (SMMoA) in the groundbreaking 2001 exhibition Freestyle, a traveling survey organized by the Studio Museum in Harlem featuring the work of twenty-eight emerging African-American artists. The artist also contributed to SMMoA’s legendary exhibition and art sale INCOGNITO that supported the institution’s free arts programming. ICA LA’s newly appointed curator Jamillah James also organized exhibitions and programs at Art + Practice, the arts and social services foundation in Leimert Park established by Bradford, during its two-year partnership with the Hammer Museum.
In May, ICA LA announced its name change and forthcoming relocation to downtown. The new museum will be designed by internationally renowned wHY under the leadership of founder and creative director Kulapat Yantrasast. While preserving the building’s classic industrial architecture, wHY’s design for ICA LA’s new space will bring together innovative architecture, urban design, and sustainability to create a state-of-the-art environment for exhibitions, education, dialogue, and collaboration.
About Mark Bradford
Mark Bradford was born in 1961 in Los Angeles, where he currently lives and works. He is co-founder of Art + Practice, an innovative non-profit art and social service organization in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. Bradford represented the United States at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017 with the presentation Tomorrow is Another Day, organized by Christopher Bedford, Director, and Katy Siegel, Senior Curator, Baltimore Museum of Art. Recent solo exhibitions include Scorched Earth, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2015); Mark Bradford / MATRIX 172, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum, Hartford (2015); Tears of a Tree, Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai (2015); Mark Bradford: Sea Monsters, Gemeentemuseum, The Hague (2015), organized by the Rose Art Museum, Waltham (2014); You’re Nobody (Til Somebody Kills You), the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus (2010; traveled to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Dallas Museum of Art; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2011–12); Merchant Posters, Aspen Art Museum (2010); Maps and Manifests, Cincinnati Museum of Art (2008); and Neither New Nor Correct at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2007). Notable group presentations include the Sharjah Biennial (2015); the Gwangju Biennale (2012), 12th Istanbul Biennial (2011), Seoul Biennial (2010), the Carnegie International (2008), São Paulo Biennial (2006), and Whitney Biennial (2006). In 2013, Bradford was elected a National Academician by the National Academy Museum, and was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship in 2009. In 2014, Bradford unveiled Bell Tower, a large-scale multimedia installation commissioned for the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX Airport, Los Angeles.