David Bradshaw is a multi-faceted artist from New Orleans, Louisiana and Charleston, Vermont. He is a painter, sculptor and printmaker. Born in New York City, he was raised in Washington, DC and Old Greenwich, Connecticut. His father was a modern interior designer and his mother a classical pianist. Able to draw and paint in the realist style Bradshaw is best known for his use of handguns, explosive devices (typically dynamite) and steel to create large-scale, free standing sculptures; reshaping the metal through the force of controlled explosions. He pursued a BA at the Hartford Art School from 1962-1965. With less than one year remaining to obtain his degree he left school and traveled throughout Europe spending his time sketching the regional landscapes and residents. Upon returning Bradshaw became extremely active in the US Civil Rights Movement.
Over the last 40 years Bradshaw has shown and collaborated with well-known contemporary artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Serra, Keith Sonnier, Phillip Taaffe, Eva Hesse, Bruce Nauman, Tina Girouard, and James Surls, among many others. Bradshaw played an integral part in building out 112 Greene Street in NYC; which became a key exhibition and performance space catapulting SoHo into the arts scene. He exhibited his work there early on, along with artist Gordon Matta-Clark. He was one of the first artists invited to the Untitled Press on Rauschenberg's Captiva Island and spent a number of months there creating new work in the late 1960s. His early works included photography, drawing, printmaking and large scale minimalist paintings.
Bradshaw grew up with a passion for guns and a natural talent for marksmanship so it was only a matter of time before his art evolved from painting on canvas into explosion performance and shooting steel.
Bradshaw collaborated extensively with artist and writer William S. Burroughs over a number of years until Burroughs’ death in 1997. Bradshaw's art had a significant influence on the direction of Burrough's own artistic creativity and development. As one of the pall bearers at Burroughs' funeral, Bradshaw placed Burroughs' favorite pistol in his hand prior to the coffin being sealed. Their collaboration resulted most notably in a Graphicstudio portfolio of prints titled Propagation Hazard, along with a series of cut-out steel silhouettes and paintings on canvas which were then shot.
Bradshaw’s work has been exhibited in museums throughout the United States and Europe. His work has been critically reviewed in Art in America (Dec. 2005 and 1998), Contact Quarterly, and ArtForum as well as in other periodicals and newspapers throughout the United States.
His artwork has been collected both privately and publicly throughout the U.S. and Europe. Notable collections include the estates of artist Robert Rauschenberg and writer/artist William S. Burroughs, the National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Walker Art Center, Whitney Museum of American Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Stedelijk Museum, Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Polk Museum of Art, the University of S. Florida Contemporary Art Museum, Smith College Museum of Art, and the Sheldon Swope Art Museum. Over a dozen of Bradshaws large scale plasma torch sculptures are in the private collection of the House of Blues and are on permanent exhibit at their performance venues in Las Vegas, NV; Anaheim, CA and Orlando, FL.
Information provided by the artist's nephew, Kurt Kolok