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With Peter Bradley

When filmmaker Alex Rappoport met then 79-year-old abstract artist Peter Bradley in early 2020, Bradley hadn’t sold many paintings or had a major show in over four decades – yet he still painted every day in his shipping-container studio, heated by a wood stove, no matter what the weather. Over time, Rappoport recorded Bradley’s fascinating life story, which occupies a unique and inexplicably overlooked place in 20th century art history. Bradley was one of the first important Black gallery dealers in the 1970s, likely the first Black abstract artist represented by a major New York City gallery, and curator of one of the first integrated art shows in America (read this New York Times article for more detail). As Bradley tells it, all this unfolds amidst the systemic racism of both society in general and the art world in particular.

Talented, willful and arrogant, Peter Bradley lived life to its fullest – until he fell upon hard times and drug abuse in the 1980s that nearly ended his career.  He now lives in an eclectic 18th century stone house in upstate New York with his wife and on-screen companion Rudolph the housecat. When COVID shut down most of the world, Alex started spending his days filming and deepening his friendship with Peter, a process which spanned more than a year. The result is a revealing 90-minute film about an extraordinary life.

WITH PETER BRADLEY is an intimate, provocative series of conversations with the now 81-year-old abstract painter and sculptor. At turns bitter and humorous, the recounting of Bradley’s rise to success as an artist – and subsequent fall from grace – unfolds against the backdrop of seasonal change at his rural home and studio.

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Alex Rappoport, Independent Filmmaker

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