What a difference a year makes. When news first broke that artist Mark Bradford would represent the United States at the Venice Biennale it was April 2016, a time when Donald Trump’s presidency seemed like a long shot at best. Now, on the eve of the international exhibition, on view from May 13 to November 26, America is still coming to terms with that historic election. Bradford, though, hasn’t changed course. As he told a group of journalists over lunch earlier this year, “There’s always been a Trump.” One can’t help but wonder whether the Los Angeles–based artist—black, gay, progressive—would be the President’s first choice as a national spokesperson. “Venice is like the Olympics,” explains senior curator Katy Siegel of the Baltimore Museum of Art, which is presenting Bradford’s project in collaboration with the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University. “To be chosen is a huge honor.”
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