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Long before the pandemic stimulated artists’ creativity from all over the world, and that Street Art provided them with a new possibility of expression, in a pre-Covid era, there were already those making arrangements to encourage the accessibility of art. This is the case of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth that launched the MODERN BILLINGS Project in 2018.

Related articles: "Poster for the People" how to spread positivity through street art - How to overcome the crisis? - How will Museums be after Covid-19 - Urban Art or Street Art? - A new turning point in the Street Art history 

Modern Billings Project was born in Texas in 2018, as a consequence of an agreement between the Fort Worth Modern Art Museum and an advertising company, namely Clear Channel Outdoor, which agreed to provide billboards to host the museum's temporary outdoor exhibitions. By using advertising billboards, the project aims at facilitating the access to art into underserved communities along the periphery of downtown Fort Worth. A format that now proves itself to be more appropriate than ever, and even more so was in the days of the lockdown, as it provided the residents of Fort Worth with the opportunity to experience art just staring out of the window of their cars.

Using advertising spaces from Clear Channel Outdoor as programming sites, Assistant Curators of Education Jesse Morgan Barnett and Tiffany Wolf Smith have been working with various artists to situate imagery and text onto billboards, elements of the city that traditionally present commercial advertisements rather than cultural overtures. Since 2018, a relevant number of artists have participated in this project, among those Chris Wright Evans, Katie H. Ritchie, Alicia Eggert, Christopher Blay and Stephen Lapthisophon should be cited.

 

Chris Wright Evans, Reflectors, 2020, 3800 E Lancaster Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76103 Courtesy of Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth’s Modern Billings Projects.

 

Now it is Mark Bradford's turn (Los Angeles, 1961), who will exhibit his works on three billboards starting July 1st, parallel to the reopening of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Bradford is a Los Angeles-based artist best known for his large-scale abstract paintings created out of paper. Beginning with the selection of an image to use as a base, the artist accumulates paper in thick layers before tearing, ripping, sanding, power-washing and gouging through the surface to reveal complex intersections among the layers of meaning. For this specific exhibition, Bradford has selected three photography from the archives of Cleo Hill-Jackson, his long-time friend and former high society hairdresser in St. Louis. 

 

Mark Bradford, 5700 E Lancaster Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76112, Courtesy of Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth’s Modern Billings Project.

 

Mark Bradford, 5840 E Lancaster Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76112, Courtesy of Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth’s Modern Billings Project.

 

Mark Bradford, 1515 Jacksboro Hwy, Fort Worth, TX 76114, Courtesy of Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth’s Modern Billings Project.

 

Cover image: Exhibition shot Mark Bradford, Courtesy of Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth’s Modern Billings Project.

Written by Giulia Cami

Stay Tuned on Kooness magazine for more exciting news from the art world.

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