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Exhibition Spotlight—Joe Bradley: Sculpture

August 2, 2017

Joe Bradley (American, born 1975). Untitled, 2016. Bronze, 15 x 15 x 11 1/4 inches (38.1 x 38.1 x 28.6 cm). Gagosian Gallery. Image courtesy of the artist. © 2017 Joe Bradley.

Joe Bradley’s mid-career survey is currently on view at the Albright-Knox. On the blog, we’re taking a closer look at each of the artist’s diverse bodies of work from the past decade, including his sculpture.

This exhibition includes a group of sculptures Bradley recently made through copying, re-presenting, and sometimes casting in bronze figurative amateur sculptures he finds or buys online. The project is related to Bradley’s encounters with centuries-old objects in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Sometimes, these objects seem to him like time travelers—they appear too powerfully immediate, too fresh to be so old. By manipulating the scale, material, color, and composition of the sculptures he takes as inspiration, Bradley attempts to re-create this sense of temporal displacement, making contemporary art from objects that may originally date from the 1960s and 1970s.

Some of the sculptures have a jokey, 1970s “Keep on Truckin’” vibe, while others convey the earnestness of an adult education art class. The sculptures that inspired his own three-dimensional works have become pieces of truth for Bradley; they’re odd and familiar and awkward and funny and clearly beloved, all at the same time. They are both art and the inspiration for art.