Studio Visit: Joe Bradley and Chris Martin

bradley joe chris martin and jeremy and redding willis

Joe Bradley and Chris Martin were putting together a book to accompany their upcoming joint exhibition at Mitchell-Innes & Nash which opens Feb 25th.  That’s Joe in the center, Chris Martin is on the far right.  Jeremy Willis is sitting in the back, he arranged the visit for me.

bradley red painting

This is one of Joe’s paintings.

bradley mark

Bradley wrote a good artist statement for his show last Nov with Peres Projects in Berlin: “Painting is a lot like fishing. Stick your brush in the water and wait. Hope for something big (or at least funny looking…) Read the paper. Eat a sandwich. Think about painting. Call Baselitz (no answer.) Read “Hunger”. Crossword puzzle. Whistle. Paint. Curse God. Go home.”

bradley painting blue

The paintings have a lot of personality.  Would you have the balls to paint one of these?  Joe does.

bradley chris martin and joe arranging book

Chris was energetic.  Joe has just interviewed Chris for a magazine called The Journal, that’s how they became friends.  Joe said that he always liked Chris’s paintings.  After the interview they arranged for the group show at Mitchell-Innes & Nash so they can keep working together.

bradley book pages3

Some of the pages were printed and some were ball-point pen drawings.

bradley working on book

It was cool watching them shuffle the papers around, and trying to guess what they were thinking.

bradley book pages2

bradley book pages

The one on the right is one of the ball-point pen drawings.

bradley book layout

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  • Amir

    I have to come clean, I saw a Joe Bradley show in LA and absolutely hated it. I thought it was boring, pretentious, and said a lot of nothing.

    I know its conceptual and the minimal aspect of it is part of his whole schtick but just because you have a concept it doesn’t make it good or interesting one. Someone tell me why I should care about this work.

    ps. I also saw the work as a fuck you to painters, which I’m really getting bored of these days. I get it you make paintings because you see it as a flawed medium. What’s so new about that? Thousands of artists made that type of work in the 70’s.

  • Amir, I think what you have to say about it is completely valid. That being said – I like the work.

    Here are two arguments about why I like it:

    First, the work has a particular aesthetic, which is a philosophical stance on the look of the art. It is, among his peers, distinct. It’s minimal and spacious – it forces people to look at schmutz and consider its subtle delicacy. This can be seen as a “fuck you” to painting/painters, but maybe he’s sincere? In his artist statement from “Eat at Joe’s” he tells a story which doesn’t seem negative, if anything it’s wide open and unguarded.

    Second, the work gets people talking, especially artists. It makes people talk about what they think is good, in some of the normal ways (like work ethic, content – which gets people riled up) and in more interesting ways than usual; like what you have to say – its boring. Passionate talk about boring art? Joe Bradley’s work is polarizing for sure. So for this reason I think the work is fundamentally interesting.

    Here is a bad review of one of Joe’s shows, and a passionate defense in the comments section by Dan Colen (at least that’s who he says he is):

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  • ben

    quite disgusting.

  • Wow-what a load of shite. I mean, what a ghastly work of tripe. Taking a big dump also gets me and others thinking, but there really is no need to display it.

  • esteban

    haha yall mad.

  • m

    i feel like i have an affinity with joe bradley – similar painting/drawing aesthetic. his pieces feel sincere, working from the point of respect to painting as a medium, acknowledging its flaws (especially in relation to the artist himself), and using that awkward relationship to move forward.

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  • TFlorida2

    What a load of bs. I don’t see any artistic talent.

  • TFlorida2

    A crappy artist gets people talking; therefore his work is art. Send me a text and I’ll paint you a crappy picture and you can buy it for $10,000. I can’t draw worth shit, just like Joe Bradley, so I expect my work will sell quickly.