Functional Art

Screen Shot 2019-11-24 at 9.50.51 AMBy Vivian Kadelbach

Bradley Narduzzi Rex, an American born in Connecticut in 1967, studied architecture at Columbia University in New York City. In 1992, he was awarded the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship Award which allowed him to work and study in Venice, Italy. Life is full of coincidences that determine our paths. While in Italy, Bradley familiarized himself with furniture design, which later led him to manufacture his own contemporary furniture in Mexico, where he has been living full time since 1999. Bradley’s biography is long: solo and group exhibitions, fellowships and art prizes. But who is he really? 

Certainly so much more than what his bio makes us believe at first glance. I have always been intrigued by Bradley’s abundant, embracing energy that is full of light and happiness. He says it’s a family trait, inherited from his father. Being a person defined by/full of ideas, he experiences the world with all his five senses and an openness that makes him unique. To him, everything he perceives is an opportunity and an inspiration to create something new and different. The world is a happy place full of opportunities that are worth exploring. And being as ambitious as he is, he does not remain in the world of ideas and dreams but rather rolls up his sleeves to make things happen. 

Bradley’s understanding of art is not like that of other contemporary artists. His art is not made to be admired in a museum or to shock the viewer by provoking certain strong emotions – something that many of his contemporaries strive for. Rather, Bradley’s vision is that he wants his artwork to be displayed in homes and offices, creating a pleasant environment that one would want to live in and enjoy. Hence, practical or functional are probably good words to describe his art. 

When looking at his art, you certainly cannot deny his background as an architect or his experience as a furniture designer, with a focus on the utility or functionality of everything he does and a primary interest in color and form. Bradley lives his art. His apartment in Mexico City displays just that: a harmonious and fun back and forth between old and new, different materials and colors that show great taste and an amazing eye for combining elements that at first glance are completely unrelated.      

To Bradley, his art is like a game he loves to play. He constantly explores new elements while taking others, already established parts of his work, to perfection, just to then change them again. He enjoys reinventing his work over and over again and invites the viewer to participate in this game of color and form with him. His billboard panels that take up common popular themes of comics, Mexican pop culture and superheroes, are the perfect example for an invitation to a play date with the viewer. The different panels are waiting to be arranged by us to our liking and personal preferences and also to our decorative needs. He invites us to have fun, to play and to enjoy and the best part is that he leads us the way.  

The Mexican “idiosincrasia” that is well known to us foreigners who love the magic of this country is something that, just as for many of us, has been a challenge for Bradley, but that he has come to embrace and enjoy as an intrinsic element of Mexican culture. Bradley has built an entire life in the 20 years that he has been living in Mexico. He has made a name for himself in Mexico and abroad and is deeply rooted in this home away from home that he has chosen for himself.  For him, it is the ideal creative turf, with daily inspiration through things and situations that are completely different from what the common North American or European eye is used to seeing. He has managed to turn it into his artistic and overall inspiration for a happy and fun life that is reflected in his art.    

Bradley lives in Mexico City and San Miguel de Allende with his wife Sandra and their two xoloitzcuintles, the hairless Mexican dogs of ancient, of unclear, ancestry.


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