Brad Downey - Photo Henrik Haven

Brad Downey

United States 1980

Installation, Urban Interventions

Brad Downey
Brad Downey
United States
August 18, 2015
Nina Karaicic is a journalist with experience in TV and radio media. Born in 1989, she had studied at the University of Belgrade – Faculty of Political Sciences (Journalism). Interests: Photography, Art, Film, Folklore, Video Games

Throughout the art history, the installation has been approached in various ways, yet Brad Downey tries to examine the possibilities of media by using it as a tool for a social comment. Namely, by carefully selecting and using objects in an unconventional manner, often in an urban environment, the artist questions their inherent function though his works are a temporary disruption, sometimes remaining in place for as short a time as a few minutes. So, by re-arranging these materials into the novel, inventive, and incisive new forms, Brad Downey not only detaches them from their original context but also forms artworks that are exhilarating, subtle, comic and very often provocative.

The American artist realized plenty of Street interventions in terms of simple installations and performances
Brad Downey – Depressed, 2014, public work

The Artistic Development

Brad Downey was born in 1980, in Louisville, Kentucky. He earned a fine art master’s degree in painting and sculpture from the Slade School of Art, where he studied under Bruce Mclean. Pratt Institute drew him to New York City in 1998. In 2007, Downey was awarded SEEDA Arts Plus award for a commission with the Tour de France. The artist has exhibited in venues such as the Tate Modern, the ICA in London, and Mass MOCA in the USA, Peacock Visual Arts in Scotland, Kunsthalle Dominikanerkirche in Osnabrück, Kunstcentret Silkeborg Bad, in Denmark.

The appropriation of ready-made methodology

He was accused for breaking the policy of mall by painting it green in privacy
Brad Downey – Fountain, 2013

Public Interventions of Brad Downey

Downey is well-known for his installations around the world and his works are often reminiscent of Duchamp’s ready-mades or Minimalist sculpture, even Land art. For example, his public work from 2013 titled Fountain is made out of an old rusty bike which was mounted on a rusty bicycle rack and transformed into a fountain. Water from the nearby canal is channeled through the frame and out of the handlebars back into the canal. In 2016, the artist realized urban intervention/ performative action The Fathers of The Nation in Bishkek, where he decided to decontextualize the ruined monument by inserting real people instead of the bronze statues which were stolen.

Immediate interventions are forte of Brad Downey

Bred Downey - The Fathers of the Nation, 2016, performance/installation
Brad Downey – The Fathers of the Nation, 2016, performance/installation

The Lacoste Action

In 2008, Downey sprayed green paint on the shopping windows of Berlins historical KaDeWe mall, which the owners reported to the police as an act of vandalism. As a matter of fact, the artist was contracted by the Lacoste clothing brand for an exhibition at the mall celebrating the 75th anniversary of the brand. Unfortunately so, after the action Lacoste erased the name of the artist from the exhibition and never paid him for his participation.

The interest of changing the meaning of objects is apparent

Bred Downey - Damaged Goods, 2015, installation view
Brad Downey – Damaged Goods, 2015, installation view

The Domains of Art Practice of Brad Downey

Besides installation and urban interventions, Downey was interested in film, so he raised the funds and shoot his first feature-length film, Public Discourse. It is a documentary about street art which gained success and was screened around the world including the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London and the Copenhagen Documentary Film Festival. The ongoing activity of Brad Downey seem to develop rapidly, and the urban space remains his studio so the immediate participation and the transformation of ephemeral moments make his art practice in perfect balance with everyday politics and life.

Brad Downey lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

All images used are courtesy of the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery MuseumSolo Group 
2016VernissageOvercoat Gallery, Moscow, RussiaSolo
2016EssentialsHaus der Kunst Munich, GermanyGroup
2016Planet Bat NRW Forum, Duesseldorf, GermanyGroup
2016UM Festival for Contemporary ArtUckermark, GermanyGroup
2016The ThawCCI Fabric, Moscow, RussiaGroup
2016ArtmossphereManege, Moscow, RussiaGroup
2016Wertical I Michael Horbach Foundation, Cologne, GermanyGroup
2016Life O' BannerFundacja Nośna, Kraków, PolandGroup
2016Crossing Borders Crossing Boundaries, SAM, St. Petersburg, RussiaGroup
2016The Impossibility of Being WUK, Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna, AustriaGroup
2016Venturing Beyond Somerset House, London, UKGroup
2016Einschmiegen IIIGalerija EPEKA, Maribor, SlovenijaGroup
20162te 11te, Interventionale Haus am Lützowplatz, Ausstellungsraum der IG Metall, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2016Sweat ShopSchau Fenster, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2015Damaged GoodsCuadro Gallery, Dubai, UAESolo
2015SouvenirsRuttkowski;68, Cologne, GermanySolo
2014Sculptures, Leftovers and Documentation Haus am Lützowplatz, Berlin, GermanySolo
2014Inside Out - Upside DownNUN, Berlin,GermanySolo
2014Market Ready- UntitledSchau Fenster, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2014CASTLE DIS-PLAYStädtische Galerie Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, GermanyGroup
2014Kiasma Hits Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, FinlandGroup
2014Show Me (Your Idols)Kreuzberg Pavillon, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2014Casus Pacis,(Manifesta 10 Parallel Exhibition)Street Art Museum, St. Petersburg, RussiaGroup
2014Video ShrinesArtbox, Melbourne, AustraliaGroup
2014Dry Tide - Enact Fluidity LE6B, Paris, FranceGroup
2013The Spat Upon SIC Space, Helsinki, FinlandSolo
2013The Floor, the Table and the WallKulturzentrum Marstall am Schloss Ahrensburg, GermanySolo
2013BrutalLazarides Gallery, London, United KingdomGroup
2013UntitledGaleria Autonomica, Münchner Stadtmuseum, Munich, GermanyGroup
2013Akce ZTrafačka Gallery, Prague, Czech RepublicGroup
2013What is Contemporary ArtMuseum of Contemporary Art Roskilde, DenmarkGroup
2013Petites Résistances Weltkunstzimmer, Düsseldorf, GermanyGroup
2013Small Gestures, MU Strijp-S, Eindhoven, NetherlandsGroup
2013POESIAStaedtische Galerie, Delmenhorst, GermanyGroup
2011Shallow Kunstverein Bucholz, GermanySolo
2011We Are BeginingCuadro - Dubai, UAE2011Solo
2011Bits + Pieces Artitude Kunstverein, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2011Farbe Im Fluss Museum für Moderne Kunst, Weserburg, GermanyGroup
2011Kunstkorperlich - Korperkunslich 3, Bodies Kunsthalle Dominikanerkirche, Osnabruck, GermanyGroup
2011Walk This Way KOES, Museum Of Art In The Public Space - Koege, DenmarkGroup
2011Do Not Think Awangarda Gallery at BWA, Wroclaw-Breslau, PolandGroup
2011Meanwhile In Deepest East Anglia Thunderbirds Were Go Von Der Heyt Museum - Wuppertal, GermanyGroup
2011Wilde Zeichen Kunsthalle Krems Forum Frohner - Krems, AustriaGroup
2011City Mechanisms The 30 Gallery - Prague, Czech RepublicGroup
2011What is Contemporary Art Museum of Contemporary Art Roskilde, DenmarkGroup
2011I Don't Need Your Money Honey All I Need Is LoveTraffic Gallery, Dubai, UAEGroup
2010I Forget What I Wanted To Say Die Ausstellungsstrasse, Vienna, AustriaSolo
2010Hacking the City Museum Folkwang,- Essen, GermanyGroup
2010Street as StudioKunsthalle Wien - Vienna, AustriaGroup
2010Sub-Glob 2 Örebro - Konsthall, Örebro, SwedenGroup
2010GesturesMuseum of Contemporary Art Roskilde, DenmarkGroup
2010Newpaper Research & Reading RoomChristophe Daviet-Thery, Paris, FranceGroup
2009Broken Horizon Reinking Projekte, Hamburg, GermanySolo
2009An Honest ThiefStolenspace, London, EnglandSolo
2009Backjumps volume 4 #1 Kunstraum Kreuzberg Bethanien – Berlin, GermanyGroup
2009UntitledBlack River Festival, Vienna, AustriaGroup
2009UntitledNuart- Stavanger, NorwayGroup
2009Urban ArtMuseum for Moderne Kunst, Weserburg, GermanyGroup
2008Call It What You LikeKunstcentret Silkeborg Bad, DenmarkGroup
2008Fresh Air Smells Funny Kunsthalle Dominikanerkirche, Osnabruck, GermanyGroup
2007It’s the Thought That Counts, Backjumps Volume 3 Kunstraum Kreuzberg Bethanien, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2007AdaptationPeacock Visual Arts, Aberdeen, ScotlandGroup
2006Anti Climb FenceSeven Seven gallery, London, EnglandGroup
2005Our Work Makes Us Free, Backjumps volume 2Kunstraum Kreuzberg Bethanien, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2005Fresh MilkMilk Gallery, New York, NY, USAGroup
2004Santa's GhettoLaz, Inc., London, EnglandGroup
2003The Beauty is the ActUrban art info, Backumps volume 1, Berlin, GermanyGroup