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News Room

High Museum of Art Names Mark Bradford 2016 Recipient of David C. Driskell Prize

February 18, 2016

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Bradford to be honored at the 12th annual Driskell Prize Dinner on April 29

ATLANTA, Feb. 18, 2016 – The High Museum of Art today named contemporary artist Mark Bradford the 2016 recipient of the David C. Driskell Prize. Named for the renowned African-American artist and art scholar, the Driskell Prize was founded in 2005 as the first national award to recognize an early or mid-career scholar or artist whose work makes an original and important contribution to the field of African-American art or art history. Bradford will be honored at the Driskell Prize Dinner at the High on Friday, April 29, 2016, at 7 p.m.

Based in Los Angeles, Bradford is known for his monumental, abstract collage works, which feature intricately layered forms and lines created using found materials such as string, carbon paper and billboard paper. In his paintings, installations and sculptures, Bradford explores how socioeconomic and political forces converge to shape the diverse culture and physical environments of urban communities. Bradford’s work has been featured in more than 40 solo exhibitions over the past two decades and is included in the collections of distinguished institutions such as The Guggenheim, the Walker Art Center and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

“Mark Bradford is a wonderfully important voice in contemporary art,” said Rand Suffolk, the High’s Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director. “His work and life powerfully advocate for social change and provide poignant 21st century perspectives on the politics and psychology of human interaction. The boundary-pushing nature of his practice embodies the spirit of our annual Driskell Prize, and we’re proud to honor him in this way.”

The selection process for the 2016 recipient of the Driskell Prize began with a call for nominations from a national pool of artists, curators, teachers, collectors and art historians. Bradford was chosen from these nominations by review committee members assembled by the High, which included Andrea Barnwell Brownlee, 2013 Driskell Prize recipient and director of the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art; Valerie Cassel Oliver, senior curator of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; and Lauren Haynes, associate curator, permanent collection, The Studio Museum in Harlem.

The 2016 Driskell Prize Dinner is co-chaired by M. Alexis Scott and Jim Morgens with Honorary Chair Louise Sams. Tickets for the black-tie event may be purchased by contacting Rhonda Matheison at or 404-733-4403.

About Mark Bradford

Mark Bradford was born in 1961 in Los Angeles, where he currently lives and works. He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, Calif., in 1997.

Bradford has shown extensively in international and national exhibitions. Recent solo shows include “Scorched Earth,” Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2015); “Sea Monsters,” Gemeentemuseum den Haag, The Hague, Netherlands (2015) and The Rose Art Museum, Waltham, Mass. (2014); “MATRIX 172,” Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Conn. (2015); “Tears of a Tree,” Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2015); and a major touring exhibition presented at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2010), which travelled to Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2010), Dallas Museum of Art (2011), Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2011) and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, (2012).

Bradford is co-founder of Art + Practice, an arts and education private operating foundation based in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. Since its founding in 2013, the foundation’s mandate has been to create an educational platform that supports the acquisition of practical skills for foster youth and stresses the cultural importance of art within a larger social context.

In addition to receiving the Driskell Prize, Bradford has earned numerous awards and fellowships, including the MacArthur Fellowship (2009), the Wexner Center Residency Award (2009), the Bucksbaum Award (2006), the United States Artists Fellowship (2006), the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2003), the Nancy Graves Foundation Grant (2002), and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant (2002). In 2013, Bradford was elected as a National Academician by the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts in New York. In 2014, he was a recipient of the U.S. Department of State’s Medal of Arts.

About the David C. Driskell Prize
Established by the High in 2005, the David C. Driskell Prize is the first national award to honor and celebrate contributions to the field of African American art and art history. Past recipients include Kirsten Pai Buick (2015), Lyle Ashton Harris (2014), Andrea Barnwell Brownlee (2013), Rashid Johnson (2012), Valerie Cassel Oliver (2011), Renee Stout (2010), Krista A. Thompson (2009), Xaviera Simmons (2008), Franklin Sirmans (2007), Willie Cole (2006) and Dr. Kellie Jones (2005). A cash award of $25,000 accompanies the prize. Proceeds from the High’s annual Driskell Prize Dinner go toward both the David C. Driskell African American Art Acquisitions Fund and the David C. Driskell African American Art Acquisition Endowment Fund. Through the David C. Driskell African American Art Acquisitions Fund, the High has acquired works by artists including Romare Bearden, Rashid Johnson, Radcliffe Bailey, Nick Cave, Willie Cole, John T. Scott and Renee Stout.

About David C. Driskell
David Driskell is a practicing artist and scholar whose work on the African Diaspora spans more than four decades. The High’s relationship with Driskell began in 2000, when the Museum presented the concurrent exhibitions “To Conserve a Legacy: American Art from Historically Black Colleges and Universities” and “Narratives of African American Art and Identity: The David C. Driskell Collection,” which examined African American art in the broad historical context of modern and contemporary art. Born in 1931 in Eatonton, Ga., Driskell is distinguished professor emeritus at the University of Maryland, College Park. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard University in 1955 and his Master of Fine Arts degree from Catholic University in 1962. He also attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine in 1953 and studied art history in The Hague, the Netherlands, in 1964. More information about Driskell is available at

About the High Museum of Art
The High is the leading art museum in the southeastern United States. With more than 15,000 works of art in its permanent collection, the High Museum of Art has an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American art; a substantial collection of historical and contemporary decorative arts and design; significant holdings of European paintings; a growing collection of African American art; and burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, photography, folk and self-taught art, and African art. The High is also dedicated to supporting and collecting works by Southern artists. Through its education department, the High offers programs and experiences that engage visitors with the world of art, the lives of artists and the creative process. For more information about the High, visit

About The Woodruff Arts Center
The Woodruff Arts Center is one of the largest arts centers in the world, home to the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art and Arts for Learning. Each year, these arts organizations play host to over 1.2 million patrons at The Woodruff Arts Center’s midtown Atlanta location, one of the only arts centers in the United States to host both visual and performing arts on a single campus. Through its work with educators and schools, The Woodruff Arts Center serves over 300,000 students annually and is the largest arts educator in Georgia

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Marci Tate
High Museum of Art
Manager of Public Relations

Anne Randolph Powell
High Museum of Art
Public Relations Specialist