Tomorrow Is Another Day was the title work in Bradford’s exhibition for the United States pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale. A variegated mass of collaged paper pulp fills the painting’s nearly eighteen-foot-wide expanse. Bright blues and reds peek through a cloud of yellows, while dense orbs dart across the fray, their movements seemingly recorded by grooves incised in the heavily worked surface. Bradford mobilizes what he calls “humble materials”—such as bleach, caulking, and paper culled from the streets of south Los Angeles or bought in bulk—to create monumental paintings that meditate on the failures and distortions that mark America’s history. To make these works, Bradford submerges the paper in water, softening it into a pulp that he layers on canvas and then sands down. The results are decidedly abstract, yet their physicality suggests a kind of latent figuration.
In the catalogue accompanying his Venice presentation, Bradford stated, “I’m talking about other worlds. . . . The hope is that we become unrecognizable to ourselves in regard to our policies around race, gender, class, sexuality.” Taking its name from the final line in the 1939 Hollywood film Gone with the Wind (a romance set in the South in the Civil War era) and first shown in a building modeled after President Thomas Jefferson’s plantation, Monticello, Tomorrow Is Another Day weighs the present while looking toward the future, toward possibility.
Publication excerpt from From MoMA Highlights: 375 Works from The Museum of Modern Art, New York (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2019).