tv 60 Minutes CBS September 15, 2019 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
and ford. we go further, so you can. >> where did all this stuff come from? >> it's from china. it's manufactured in china. >> some of this fentanyl was seized by the d.e.a. the rest was found in the mail by u.s. postal service inspectors. >> this is essentially enough fentanyl and carfentanyl to kill every man, woman and child in the city of cleveland. >> just this? >> just this. >> carfentanyl is a derivative used by veterinarians to tranquilize elephants. >> carfentanyl is another 100 times more potent than fentanyl. >> so if you touch this stuff, it could kill you? >> yeah. >> just touch it? >> there's a reason we have a medic standing by. ( ticking ) >> this is a story about the
cruelest disease you have never heard of. it's called frontotemporal dementia, or f.t.d. f.t.d. is the number one form of dementia in americans under the age of 60. >> i was washing my hands, and i looked in the mirror, and i did not recognize my own face. >> didn't recognize yourself. >> no. i looked in the mirror, and i kept looking, and i remember i kept looking at this woman, wondering, "who was she?" ( ticking ) >> mark bradford is widely considered one of the most important and influential artists in america today. his abstract canvases, which often deal with complex social and political issues, hang in major museums around the world. >> that's all right. that is all right. >> it's like an archeological dig. >> it is like an archeological dig. it's like history. i'm creating my own archaeological or psychological digs. sometimes, when i'm digging on my own painting, i'm asking myself, "well, exactly what are
you digging for? where do you want to go, child?" ( ticking ) >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm bill whitaker. >> i'm anderson cooper. >> i'm norah o'donnell. >> i'm scott pelley. those stories, tonight, on "60 minutes." ( ticking ) i can. the two words whispered at the start of every race. every new job. and attempt to parallel park. (electrical current buzzing) each new draft of every novel. (typing clicks) the finishing touch on every masterpiece. (newborn cries) it is humanity's official two-word war cry. words that move us all forward. the same two words that capital group believes have the power to improve lives. and that, for over 85 years, have inspired us to help people achieve their financial goals.
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one drug, fentanyl, is like rocket fuel in the sharp rise of this crisis. fentanyl is a painkiller invented in the 1960s and used to relieve the agony of advanced cancer. it is 50 times more potent than heroin. but today, fentanyl can be ordered on the internet, by drug dealers and addicts, for an online overdose. as we first reported in april, tracking the source of this illicit trade is a story that begins with james rauh. like most in akron, ohio, he'd never heard of fentanyl, until the police told him his son was dead. >> james rauh: they told me that the drug was so powerful that he was unable to finish his injection, and then he died immediately. >> pelley: he didn't even finish the inion? >> rauh: he'd only... only just started the injection.
he didn't even have a chance. >> pelley: james rauh's son, tom, was 37 when he died in 2015. he'd started opioids years before, after an injury. when his prescription ran out, he turned to heroin. he'd been in and out of rehab more than half a dozen times when fentanyl inundated ohio. >> rauh: there was something extremely dangerous going on, because tom was a veteran addict. you know, he knew how to dose himself. he knew how much he could he could handle. i was wondering, how in the world this would get here and who would be selling it? >> pelley: one week after tom rauh's death, the mother of 23- year-old carrie dobbins grabbed her phone. >> operator: akron 911, what is the location of your emergency? >> mother: my daughter is dead. i just went, got home from work a little bit ago, and i went down in the basement. she's dead! >> operator: please stay on the line with me, ma'am. you need to be very specific. >> mother: i think she did
drugs. >> pelley: two deaths in akron in seven days made assistant u.s. attorney matt cronin wonder where all the fentanyl was coming from. the target of an investigation, a low-level drug dealer, had the answer. >> matt cronin: the target said that he can get any drugs he could ever imagine, over the internet from china. >> pelley: cronin's investigators went online and discovered overseas labs offering most any illegal drug. >> cronin: we just said, "hey," according to the source's instructions, "we're interested in buying fentanyl." and the result was, to say the least, surprising. we have dozens, probably over 50 different drug trafficking networks reaching out to us, saying, "we have fentanyl. we have even more powerful fentanyl analogs. whatever you want, we'll get it for you, for cheap. we'll get it for you in bulk." >> pelley: you got 50 replies? >> cronin: at least. >> pelley: and all of these came from where? >> cronin: it was universally china. >> pelley: what did you do next? >> cronin: instead of trying to find our way to a target, we had
far too many. so what we decided to do was go through the list and see any that popped out. and one name in particular struck out, out of the list. >> pelley: what was that name? >> cronin: gordon jin. >> pelley: when gordon jin was making claims about what he could provide, what did he tell your undercover agents? >> cronin: what gordon jin said he could provide to you was essentially, any drug you could imagine: those that exist, those that don't even currently exist. he called it custom synthesis. what it really meant was made- to-order poison. >> pelley: we'll track down the man prosecutors say is gordon jin, in a moment. but first, have a look at fentanyl and its derivatives. justin herdman is u.s. attorney in cleveland. he told us some of this was seized by the d.e.a. the rest was found in the mail by u.s. postal service inspectors. >> justin herdman: this is essentially enough fentanyl and carfentanyl to kill every man, woman and child in the city of cleveland. >> pelley: just this? >> herdman: just this.
>> pelley: carfentanyl is a derivative used by veterinarians to tranquilize elephants. >> herdman: carfentanyl is another 100 times more potent than fentanyl. here, you've got 300 grams of powder that could deliver a fatal dose to 150,000 people. here, you've got only five grams of powder which could deliver a fatal dose to over 250,000 people. >> pelley: so if you touch this stuff, it could kill you? >> herdman: yeah >> pelley: just touch it? >> herdman: there's a reason we have a medic standing by, scott, and that's because an overdose is-- unfortunately, it's something that we have to be prepared for, even-- even dealing with it in an evidence bag. >> pelley: herdman showed us pills that look like prescription opioids, but are dangerous counterfeits. >> herdman: whether it's cocaine, or you think it's heroin, or you think it's pills, it's going to have fentanyl in it. >> pelley: why? >> herdman: it's cheaper to buy fentanyl. and because it's so potent, you can cut it in a way that you can deliver far more doses with a little bit of fentanyl. so it's a profit motive for them. >> pelley: where did all this stuff come from? >> herdman: it's from china.
it's manufactured in china. these are all related to cases that involve the mail or the use of the postal system. so this, somebody put this into a box, sealed it up and sent it through the postal system. >> pelley: the united states postal system has been, for many years, the most reliable way to smuggle drugs from china to the u.s. >> rob portman: that has to stop. it should've stopped years ago. >> pelley: ohio senator rob portman's staff investigated the traffic. what did your office's investigation find? >> portman: shocking, what we found. which was that people who were trafficking in fentanyl told us, if you send it through the post office, we guarantee delivery. if you send it through a private carrier, not so. >> pelley: that's because after 9/11, all private carriers like fedex were required to give u.s. customs advance descriptions and tracking of foreign packages.
the postal service was allowed to delay because of the cost. >> portman: they gave the post office some time, and said, you need to give us a report as to how you can also comply with this. that was 16 years ago, scott. it's primarily produced in laboratories in china, and it's primarily coming to the united states through the united states mail system. >> pelley: portman sponsored a bill to force the post office to send advance notice of shipments from china. and last fall, the bill became law. >> portman: we now have this legislation in place. they need to impnt i ickl they need to do everything possible to screen these packages coming in. >> pelley: but the postal service was supposed to do that by the end of last year. it says china is not cooperating. about a third of the packages from china, shipped by the u.s. postal service, still do not have advance content information. >> cronin: the gordon jin drug trafficking organization, in their own communications and advertisements online, say that
they ship to five continents, in all 50 states. they advertised, and it seemed accurate, they had special ways to bypass customs in the u.s., the u.k., the e.u. and russia. >> pelley: assistant u.s. attorney matt cronin told us that gordon jin would often slip fentanyl past u.s. customs by shipping it to a co-conspirator in the united states, posing as a legitimate chemical company. shipments between chemical companies weren't considered suspicious. a large crate would arrive at the u.s. company, but inside, there would be as many as 50 individual drug packages, each addressed to the person who'd ordered them. >> cronin: so they take out these 50 different parcels and send it across the united states and, as i mentioned, even the world. >> pelley: they were going out to the door of the individual people that ordered them online. >> cronin: that's right. we realized that we found gordon jin's drug trafficking route, essentially his camouflage to get the drugs into the united states. >> pelley: according to prosecutors, gordon jin, is an
alias for a father and son drug lab in china. matt cronin briefed chinese authorities on the evidence, but the chinese failed to act. later, a grand jury in the united states indicted the father and son, and they're now wanted in the u.s., but they enjoy freedom in china. "60 minutes" producer bob anderson found guanghua zheng, the father, outside a shanghai grocery store. >> robert anderson: this is you and your son. this is put out in the u.s. to arrest you in the u.s. >> pelley: when anderson asked zheng if he was still selling fentanyl in the u.s., zheng answered with an emphatic, "no! no!" the woman with him did not like our questions. she tells him, "don't speak, don't speak!" she tells us, "don't come back." >> anderson: will the chinese government ever arrest you? will the chinese government ever arrest you? >> pelley: he said, "the chinese
government has nothing to do with it." >> anderson: what do you say to parents? what do you say to parents whose children died from taking your drugs? >> pelley: zheng had no answer for that. but, he had had enough of "60 minutes." prosecutors say that the fentanyl that killed carrie dobbins and tom rauh came from the gordon jin lab in china and arrived in akron via the u.s. postal service. >> cronin: the thing that got me the most, though, was how brazen they were. they wrote a blog and posted it on a website about how they create a certain type of synthetic narcotic. and they stated in that blog that it's tied to overdoses. in other words, that it's so potent, it can kill you. >> pelley: why would they want to associate themselves with people who'd died using these drugs? >> cronin: the unfortunate truth is that when you have an addict,
sometimes they're seeking the greatest high possible, and that can be the high that comes closest to death. >> pelley: and so they were bragging. >> cronin: absolutely. >> pelley: that their drugs were so potent, that people had overdosed and died. >> cronin: they were the best out there. that's right. >> pelley: their boast was tragically true for the son of james rauh. >> rauh: it destroys families. because what happens to a family is, a person gets sick, and you're trying to help them, and you're trying to do everything that you can. and then you lose them, and so you suffer. you suffer up to that point, and then you suffer when they die, and then you suffer afterwards, because you could have stopped it. you feel that every single day. you think, "what could i have done to stop this from happening to my family?" i was in charge. i didn't do this right, and it's-- it's breaking my heart. >> pelley: the u.s. has sealed off the overseas bank accounts of guanghua zheng and his son. the feds also shut down what prosecutors say were theng's
40 websites selling illegal drugs in 20 languages. we don't know if their lab shut down, but the network has been, at least for now. >> cronin: it is a fact that the people's republic of china is the source for the vast majority of synthetic opioids that are flooding the streets of the united states and western democracies. it is a fact that these synthetic opioids are responsible for the overwhelming increase in overdose deaths in the united states. and it is a fact that if the people's republic of china wanted to shut down the synthetic opioid industry, they could do so in a day. >> pelley: china had promised to do that, but last month, president trump accused china of not following through. and, the u.s. treasury announced further sanctions on the zhengs, designating both father and son as "foreign drug kingpins," preventing american citizens from doing any business with
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the devastating toll it takes on its victims and their families, it ought to be much better known than it is. f.t.d. is the number-one form of dementia in americans under the age of 60. what causes it is unclear, but it attacks the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, which control personality and speech, and it's always fatal. it is not alzheimer's disease, which degrades the part of the brain responsible for memory. with f.t.d., people either display such bizarre behavior that their loved ones can hardly recognize them, or they lose the ability to recognize themselves. as we first reported in may, that's what happened to tracey lind one day, a few years ago, as she was standing in a public restroom. >> tracey lind: i was washing my hands, and i looked in the mirror, and i did not recognize my own face. >> whitaker: didn't recognize yourself. >> lind: no. i looked in the mirror, and i
kept looking, and i remember i kept looking at this woman, wondering, "who was she?" >> whitaker: this is who she was: the very reverend tracey lind, dean of the episcopal cathedral in cleveland, ohio, one of the city's most prominent preachers and civic leaders. she was 61 years old when both she and her spouse emily ingalls began to notice trouble with things tracey had always done very well; like finding the right word, recognizing congregants and friends' faces, and, of course, her own. >> lind: that's when i said, "oh, man. i've got to go see a doctor." >> whitaker: when that happened, were you-- were you scared? >> lind: oh, i was scared to death. >> whitaker: emily, what did you think was happening? >> emily ingalls: i thought, there's something not right with her brain. >> whitaker: on election day 2016, tracey lind got the diagnosis: frontotemporal dementia. she has what's called the "speech variant" of the disease,
which, among other things, attacks the part of the brain where language lives. >> lind: sometimes you just-- you're fine and you're on. and then there are other times that the words just don't come out. i mean, it-- even if i know what the word is, somet-- sometimes i feel like i'm playing bingo. and when i find the word, it's-- i... i shout it. i-- like, i feel like an imbecile, you know. "apple." oh, yeah! "apple," that's it. and i get all excited. >> whitaker: this is acutely painful for tracey, because being a powerful, effective speaker has always been at the core of her identity. one of the first things you did once you got this diagnosis was to resign from your job as dean at trinity cathedral. >> lind: right. >> whitaker: why'd you take that action so quickly? >> lind: mainly, it was, i knew i was starting to fail, even though i was faking it pretty well. >> whitaker: since stepping
down, tracey and emily have traveled around the country and the world, speaking and preaching about her f.t.d.-- or as tracey puts it, "telling the story of dementia from the inside out." >> lind: i was determined to live what i had been preaching for over 30 years; that out of pain comes joy. i'm going to face this disease called f.t.d. that i'd never heard of before, and i'm going to see what i can do with it. >> whitaker: i don't know if you are aware of how unique this situation is, that you are in the middle of this decline from dementia and yet, you're so able to articulate what that's like. >> lind: i am aware of that. i think my curiosity is what's getting me through it. because otherwise, bill, i-- i-- i'm-- i'm just going to lay down and-- and-- and-- and roll up in
a ball. >> whitaker: tracey says she has good days and bad days. just in our interview, there were moments when she was completely in control-- and moments when she wasn't. >> lind: ...and i'm doing some-- you know, i'm-- i'm-- i'm-- i'm... i know there's no-- >> ingalls: do you want help? >> lind: can you help, please? >> ingalls: okay. >> bruce miller: this is the way this very sad illness presents. >> whitaker: dr. bruce miller may be the world's leading expert on frontotemporal dementia. he runs a lab at the university of california-san francisco that's doing cutting-edge research on the two main forms of f.t.d.-- the speech variant that tracey lind has, and a behavioral variant that attacks personality, judgement and empathy. >> dr. miller: pleasure to see you both again. >> whitaker: on the day we visited dr. miller's clinic, he
and his team met with f.t.d. patient thomas cox and his wife lori. at first glance, thomas seems fine-- but he's not. >> thomas cox: i've got f.t.d. >> dr. miller: okay, and has that affected you so far? >> thomas cox: no. >> whitaker: in fact, lori cox says that, starting a few years ago, thomas lost interest in her, in their son, and in his work-- so much that he was fired from his job. by now, he's pretty much reduced to looking at photos on his phone. >> thomas cox: that's bugatti. >> lori cox: that's our dog. ( laughs ) >> dr. miller: ah. your dog. >> lori cox: i can blame the disease. i can say that the disease stole my-- my husband. >> dr. miller: yes. when a family sees someone with this illness, they don't recognize them. this is not the person i married, that i love. this is not my father, or my mother. >> whitaker: you have said that f.t.d. attacks people at the very soul of their humanity.
>> dr. miller: this is profound as anything that can happen to a human being. it robs us of our very essence of our humanity, of who we are. >> whitaker: bruce miller says because so many cases are first misdiagnosed as mental illness, it takes an average of three years and several expensive brain scans to get a correct diagnosis of f.t.d. >> dr. miller: so whether it's 20,000 new cases every year, 100,000, 200,000, we still don't know. but in young people with neuro degeneration, frontotemporal dementia is a big one. >> whitaker: so if you see someone who is suffering dementia at a younger age... >> dr. miller: very strong likelihood that it's f.t.d. >> whitaker: dr. miller showed us this composite image of two of the major degenerative brain diseases. >> dr. miller: frontal temporal dementia, shown in blue; alzheimer's disease, shown in red. so, very different geography, very different clinical
manifestations. >> whitaker: what does the blue indicate? >> dr. miller: the blue indicates is that there's loss of tissue. when we see loss of tissue in that brain region, we know people have lost their interest in life, their drive. they do less, they care less about other people. >> whitaker: that loss of empathy, miller says, can produce dangerous, impulsive, even criminal behavior, and those with behavioral f.t.d. are rarely aware that anything has changed. >> amy johnson: he went from being a caring, doting father and husband, and it just seemed like he flipped a switch off. and he had no idea that he had changed. he had no idea. >> whitaker: amy johnson and her husband mark married in 2006, settled in the small minnesota town of windom, and now have four young children, three boys and a girl. four years ago, amy says mark suddenly seemed to stop caring
about her and the kids. >> amy johnson: that's the first time that i really remember thinking to myself, "what happened? where did you go?" >> whitaker: amy recalls a day when she left mark in charge of their sons, then three and two, only to come home and find the boys playing outside, alone, by a busy street, while mark sat inside watching tv, oblivious. on other days, he began to display compulsive behavior she had never seen before. >> amy johnson: he couldn't stop eating. i started locking the food up. he would walk down to the grocery store and buy more. i took his credit card. he'd walk down to the grocery store and steal food. >> whitaker: and these changes that you saw, did you ask him, "what's going on?" >> amy johnson: yeah. and he just said, "oh, i don't think anything's different, is it?" >> whitaker: it was. mark began making inappropriate remarks to a female co-worker at the company where he worked as a manufacturing engineer. he was fired? >> amy johnson: uh-huh. and his reaction was, "oh, well,
i guess, okay. so what's for supper tonight?" >> whitaker: what was your reaction? >> amy johnson: i was just devastated. i was seven months pregnant at the time, with our daughter. >> whitaker: with your fourth child. >> amy johnson: with my fourth child. >> whitaker: so as this progresses, what's the eventual outcome? >> dr. miller: outcome of this is always death. they-- >> whitaker: always death. >> dr. miller: always death. we have no way of intervening yet, to slow the progression. >> whitaker: as f.t.d. corrodes the brain, it also eventually causes bodily functions to shut down. that's what leads to death. but bruce miller is optimistic, pointing to promising research both in his lab and funded by n.i.h. grants to scientists around the country. >> dr. miller: suddenly we have interventions and research that are going on, that give me great hope. >> whitaker: when might you expect a breakthrough? >> dr. miller: i'm hoping in the
next five years, that we will have very powerful therapies in certain variants of frontotemporal dementia that may stop it cold. >> whitaker: tracey lind and emily ingalls have no idea whether any breakthrough will come in time to help them. if not, tracey will eventually lose the ability to speak at all, and then, the ability to swallow. >> lind: the not being able to swallow part; that's what's really frightening. so i try to live in the present moment. >> ingalls: i'm not very good at living in the moment, so i worry a lot about the future. >> lind: do you worry about taking care of me? >> ingalls: yeah. i worry about taking care of you. sure. >> lind: what's going to be the hardest part? >> ingalls: i think the hardest part is going to be the loss of the relationship. >> whitaker: has emily told you this before? >> lind: no. i don't think so. >> whitaker: as you can see,
caregivers suffer as much as patients. for months, amy johnson kept mark at home, even as she mothered four small children and held a full-time job. but his symptoms got worse and worse. when did it become clear to you that you-- you had to put him in a facility? >> amy johnson: i went to an appointment with a psychiatric nurse practitioner. and she said, "i think it's time for you to look for a different place. because now, when he thinks of something, the part of his brain that tells him 'that's a bad idea' doesn't work anymore." >> whitaker: when we met him, mark johnson was in an assisted living facility about an hour away from home. he had gained nearly 100 pounds due to compulsive eating. amy has since moved him to another facility, where he needs one-on-one care. amy says it's costing her $13,000 a month. out of pocket? >> amy johnson: out of pocket. he would be devastated to know that that's where his retirement
savings are going, and that they're not going to his family. >> whitaker: crippling costs are common for f.t.d. families, and it's often tough to find a facility to care for patients like mark johnson. the assisted living industry is not set up for six-foot-three 40-year-olds. hello, mark. >> amy johnson: how's it going? this is bill. >> mark johnson: hi. >> whitaker: how are you? very nice to meet you. amy visits mark as often as she can, and invited us to come along one afternoon. he told us he'd just like to go home. do you think you need help? >> mark johnson: no. >> whitaker: so you unders-- you understand why you're here? >> mark johnson: no. >> whitaker: think you'd be okay at home? >> mark johnson: yeah. ( laughs )
>> whitaker: i think amy thinks... i don't want to put words in her mouth, but i think she thinks this is the best place for you right now. >> mark johnson: okay. ( laughs ) >> whitaker: after another minute, mark said, "all right, see ya," and we left him. >> amy johnson: big hug. >> mark johnson: okay. >> whitaker: it's clearly painful for amy to see what f.t.d. has done to her husband, and to know what it will do. >> amy johnson: and they gave him two to five years to live. and-- >> whitaker: two to five years? >> amy johnson: two to five years. >> whitaker: so how are you doing now? >> amy johnson: it depends on the day. i miss him a lot. ( ticking ) >> cbs sports hq is presented by progressive insurance. i'm james brown with the scores from the n.f.l. today. q.b.s led the way as kc, green bay, and dallas all proved to
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( ticking ) >> cooper: mark bradford is widely considered one of the most important and influential artists in america today. as we first reported this spring, his abstract canvases, which often deal with complex social and political issues, hang in major museums around the world, and on the walls of big collectors and some small ones, like me. bradford's art may look like paintings, but there's hardly any paint on them. they're made out of layers and layers of paper, which he tears, glues, power-washes and sands, in a style all his own. when he began making art in his 30s, bradford couldn't afford expensive paint, so he started experimenting with endpapers, that are used for styling hair. he got the idea while working as a hair stylist in his mom's
beauty shop in south los angeles. he was broke, struggling, and didn't sell his first painting until he was nearly 40. i heard a story that when you sold your first artwork in 2001, you called up your mom. do you remember what you said to her? >> bradford: i said, "girl, i think i found a way out of the beauty shop. ( laughs ) girl, i think i found a way out of the beauty shop." yeah. yeah, because i had no idea how i was going to stop being a hair stylist, because that's really the only thing that i knew. i didn't have a problem with being a hair stylist, but it's all i knew. >> cooper: it's incredible to think that 2001 is when you first sold a work, and now... >> bradford: i still sell works. >> cooper: yeah, you sure do. ( laughs ) >> bradford: i sure do. this is the top. >> cooper: his first painting sold for $5,000. now, they can sell for more than $10 million. this new one was bought by the broad museum in los angeles. they have nine other bradfords in their collection. >> one, two, three.
>> cooper: it's called "deep blue." it's 12 feet high, 50 feet long, and took a full day to install. >> that's all right. that is all right. >> cooper: none of those colors you see are paint. it's all paper layered on canvas. it's abstract, but not entirely. see those lines that form a grid? it's a street map of the watts neighborhood in los angeles. the colored balls show where properties were damaged in 1965 after six days of violent civil unrest, protests over police brutality and racial inequality. we first saw the painting nearly a year ago, when bradford had just started working on it in his studio in south los angeles. he'd already made the map of watts out of bathroom caulking. the following month, when we stopped by again, he'd laid down 14 layers of colored paper and covered it all up with a layer of black. so, there's a map underneath
here? >> bradford: yes. >> cooper: of watts? >> bradford: uh-huh. all these little points are what was looted, what was destroyed. so, i kind of start from a map, and then, on top of it, i think i lay art history and my imagination, all three. >> cooper: bradford uses household tools to make his paintings. he likes to buy everything at home depot. >> bradford: my motto was, "if home depot didn't have it, mark bradford didn't use it." and-- >> cooper: ( laughs ) that's-- that's your-- that's your motto? >> bradford: that's my motto. that was my motto. >> cooper: to this day, is that... ? >> bradford: to this-- to this day. >> cooper: building up the layers of paper on the canvas is just the beginning of his process. he then starts to peel, cut and sand them down, which can take months. it's like an archeological dig. >> bradford: it is like an archeological dig. it's like history. i'm creating my own archaeological or psychol... psychological digs. sometimes, when i'm digging on my own painting, i'm asking myself, "well, exactly what are you digging for?
where do you want to go, child?" oh, see, look. look at that. see? now, see, that i like. >> cooper: a lot of people look at a abstract painting and think, "it's squiggles, it's torn paper, i don't understand it." >> bradford: yeah, that's true. but for me, those squiggles and torn paper gives me a space to kind of unpack things, like the watts riots. i'm grappling with how i feel about that subject and that material. i do grapple with things. i grapple with things personally, and, you know, racially, and politically. what does it mean to be me? >> cooper: mark bradford has been grappling with that question in his art for the last 18 years-- from making paintings out of street posters like those offering predatory loans in low income neighborhoods; to creating works that address h.i.v./aids, racism and the complexity of american history. he's 57 years old now, and, at six-foot-eight, stands out in a
crowd. he still lives in south los angeles, where he grew up. when he was eight, he says he began to get bullied by neighborhood kids. >> bradford: that was the first time i felt different. that was the first time i was aware of my sensitivity. that's the first time someone said, "oh, you're... you... you... you're a sissy." i definitely knew that i had to learn to navigate in a more cautious way so that i could survive. i just never had a problem being me. >> cooper: so, even though people, they were calling you sissy, it didn't make you want to try to change yourself? >> bradford: not really, no. not really. i just didn't want to get my ass whooped. >> cooper: he was raised by his mother, janice banks, who owned her own beauty salon. that's where bradford would head every day after school. >> bradford: i knew that i had to find a way to get across the schoolyard. i knew that my mother was always going to be there once i got across the schoolyard. and maybe, maybe i was in the hair salon every day, watching women get across the schoolyard. ( laughs ) i would hear their stories. i would watch them go through,
and i just thought, "if they can do it, i most certainly can do it." >> cooper: mark bradford started working in the salon as a teenager, eventually becoming a hair stylist. it was a safe place, where he could be himself. but that feeling disappeared in 1981 when his friends began dying from aids. >> bradford: i knew a storm was coming. i knew that in the gut. i knew that. and people were just dying. that's what it felt like to me, at 18 years old. i just was thinking, "how are we going to make it through?" >> cooper: did you think you would make it through? >> bradford: no. no. i didn't think i'd make it through. >> cooper: thinking he didn't have a future, he didn't plan for one. but when he was nearly 30, he took art classes at a junior college, and he says it clicked. >> bradford: it was the reading and learning about different scholars and feminism and deconstructing modernism and all. i just-- oh, man, this is-- i'm really into this. i'm not exactly sure what it is,
but i'm-- it just... yeah. >> cooper: and you'd still work at the hair salon? >> bradford: oh, yeah. every day. >> cooper: and so, you'd be studying while at the hair salon? >> bradford: oh, absolutely. they-- i put the book in their lap and said, "girl, read that back to me." >> cooper: he won a scholarship to the california institute of the arts but struggled to make money as an artist. when he was 39, he finally had a breakthrough. >> bradford: i was working on a head. >> cooper: working on a head? >> bradford: working on a head, working on a... >> cooper: at the beauty salon. >> bradford: ....beauty salon, yeah. because i was still working the hair salon, anderson. i told you that. >> cooper: i just didn't know that terminology. >> bradford: i was hooking it up. right, late at night. i was tired as hell, too. and just endpapers fell on the floor. and i looked down, i thought, "oh, they're translucent. oh. oh, i could use these." >> cooper: endpapers are small, rectangular tissues used to make permanent waves in hair. bradford began burning the papers' edges and lining them up into grids he glued onto bed sheets. >> bradford: i knew i was onto something. i knew this was bridging... this
material came from a sight outside of the paint store. i think, early on, i was trying to weave these two sides of who i was together, the art world and the sights that i had come from, the life that i had led. i didn't want to leave any of it beh... i didn't want to edit out anything. >> cooper: private collectors began snapping up his endpaper paintings, and his career took off. ( applause ) he is now a celebrity in the art world. ( applause ) his gallery openings are star- studded events. >> how are you? >> cooper: at the latest one in los angeles, beyonce and jay-z, who own several bradfords, stopped in. the ten paintings in this exhibition sold out before the gallery doors opened. >> bradford: look how nice this is. wow, it's gorgeous! >> cooper: bradford and his partner of more than 20 years, allan dicastro, are committed to using contemporary art and their own money to revitalize the neighborhood bradford grew up in. in 2014, they opened art +
practice with eileen harris norton, the first collector to buy bradford's work. it's a non-profit complex of buildings that includes a gallery, lecture spaces, and his mother's old beauty salon. >> bradford: this is the last hair salon that my mom worked in, and then i took it over from her. it was in the '90s. it was called foxy hair. >> cooper: they turned foxy hair into a center for young adults transitioning out of foster care. >> bradford: i would run down the block in here and buy myself whatever i needed to put back on the hair. >> cooper: but we were surprised to learn that mark bradford still styles hair. he does it for some of his former clients from the beauty shop who are also among his closest friends. when you look around, does his art make sense to you? >> cleo jackson: i... it does. it's like a map in outer space. ( laughs ) >> danielle wright: no. i mean, i look at it. it's beautiful, but i don't really... >> lynette powell: get it. >> female voices: get it. yeah. >> powell: he gave me something from his studio a long time ago, and i put it in my garage. ( laughs )
>> bradford: she did. >> cooper: wow. >> bradford: and i told her... >> powell: and i put it in my garage. >> bradford: i said, "girl..." >> powell: this is before he got, like... >> bradford: okay. >> powell: ...popular, i guess. and, yeah, and it's... and it's all torn up. and this guy was like, "you know, you have something like a 'mona lisa.'" i'm like, "for real?" ( laughs ) >> bradford: y'all wrong for that. >> powell: i don't see it. i'm... >> cooper: you don't see it? >> powell: i don't. but i like how you give a little insight of, like, what's going on in our community. i know that much about your art. so, that much i really like. >> cooper: bradford's latest work continues to focus on difficult and controversial issues. this painting, which is prominently displayed in the los angeles county museum of art, is called "150 portrait tone," and was made in response to the 2016 fatal police shooting of philando castile during a traffic stop in minnesota. >> diamond reynolds: he was trying to get out his i.d. in his wallet out his pocket, and he let the officer know. >> cooper: castile's girlfriend, diamond reynolds, live-streamed the incident. bradford was so haunted by her
words, he made them into this painting. >> diamond reynolds: "please don't tell me this, lord. please, jesus, don't tell me that he's gone." >> cooper: it's really the conversation that his girlfriend is having. >> bradford: with multiple people, which i was fascinated by. >> cooper: why were you fascinated by it? >> bradford: how composed she was. she was having a conversation with her daughter in the backseat, with philando, who was passing away, with god, with us, facebook, and with the policeman, all simultaneously. it was visual, and textual, and heartbreaking, and heroic, and strong all at the same time. >> cooper: in another major new work, bradford turned his gaze to the civil war. it's called "pickett's charge," and it's a re-imagining of a pivotal union victory at the battle of gettysburg. it was commissioned by the smithsonian's hirschhorn museum in washington, d.c. bradford used as his starting point blown-up photos of a 19th- century panoramic painting of
pickett's charge, a painting which offers a romanticized view of the confederacy. he then added layers of paper and cords over it, then carefully gouged, shredded and ripped it apart. >> bradford: they almost feel like lacerations. >> cooper: uh-huh. >> bradford: almost scarring. >> cooper: uh-huh. >> bradford: that's what those feel like. and a little bit like bullet wounds. like you're really.. >> cooper: uh-huh. yeah. >> bradford: ...punctured. >> cooper: it's a 360-degree painting that raises many questions in bradford's mind, particularly about how we look at history. it's looking at it through a different lens. >> bradford: yes. that's the feeling that i wanted you to have, that history was laying on top of it, that... that... gouging into it, erasing it, bits of it showing. it's kind of me kind of revising it in a way. >> cooper: so, is this a more accurate representation of history? >> bradford: i don't really believe history's ever fully accurate. >> cooper: it's acknowledging that? >> bradford: it's acknowledging the gaps, the things we don't know. >> cooper: so many people have come to see "pickett's charge," the hirshhorn has extended the
exhibition for three more years. bradford recently opened a show in china, and is working on new paintings for shows in london and new york. do you worry about the vagaries of the art world? what is popular today, 20 years from now? >> bradford: oh, no, no, no, no. i wouldn't have. no. i have never. >> cooper: i mean, art has value because people believe it has value. >> bradford: i... no, i think art has value because it has value. i'm not going to wait for somebody else to tell me my work has value. i certainly wasn't going to wait on people to tell me i had value. i'd probably still be waiting. i just... it has value because i think it has value. and then, if other people get on the value... you know, mark bradford value train, great. ( ticking ) >> the mark bradford piece that hangs in anderson cooper's home and what the correspondent sees in it. go to 60minutesovertime.com. at fidelity, we believe your money
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