Sanford Biggers’ work is an interplay of narrative, perspective and history that speaks to current social, political, and economic happenings, while also examining the contexts that bore them. His diverse practice positions him as a collaborator with the past through explorations of often overlooked cultural and political narratives from American history. Working with antique quilts that echo rumors of their use as signposts on the Underground Railroad, he engages these legends and contributes to this narrative by drawing and painting directly onto them. Further complicating the work, Biggers deconstructs the quilts and rebuilds them into 2D quilt paintings and 3D abstract quilt sculptures. Within his 2017 Residency at the American Academy Fellow in Rome, Biggers began manufacturing marble sculptures called “Chimeras”, creating hybridized forms that combine and juxtapose historical subjects to give them new alternative meanings. In response to the ongoing occurrences of police brutality against Black Americans, the “BAM” Series is composed of wooden African sculptures dipped in wax and ‘resculpted’ ballistically. As creative director and keyboardist, he fronts Moon Medicin, a multimedia concept band that straddles visual art and music with performances staged against a backdrop of curated sound effects and video.
Biggers (b.1970, Los Angeles, CA) received a BA from Morehouse College, Atlanta, and an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he sits on the Board of Governors. He was a former Associate Professor at Columbia University's Visual Arts program. He attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (1998). Notable solo-exhibitions include Salina Art Center Kansas, Salina, KS (2022); Chazen Museum, Madison, WI (2022); Speed Museum, Louisville, KY (2022); The Phillips Collection, Washington D.C. (2021); The California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2021); and The Bronx Museum, Bronx, NY (2020). Notable group exhibitions include Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, CO (2023); Lubeznik Center for the Arts Michigan City, IN (2022); Rudolph Tegner Museum, Dronningmølle, Denmark (2022); Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN (2022); Cleveland Art Museum of Art and Design, Cleveland, OH (2022); Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR (2022); Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Museum, NY(2021); Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA (2021); North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC (2021); Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY (2021); Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, TX (2021); and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA (2020).
Public collections include The Art Institute of Chicago, IL; The Bass Museum, Miami, FL; Brooklyn Museum, New York, NY; The Bronx Museum, New York, NY; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; The Museum of Art and Design, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, IL; Museum of Fine Art, Boston, MA; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Pérez Art Museum, Miami, FL; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Lubeznik Center for the Arts, Michigan City, IN, among others. Biggers has received numerous awards and accolades, including the 26th Heinz Award for the Arts (2021), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2020), and a Joyce Foundation Award and NEA Grant (2015) for assisting with a year-long project in Detroit that resulted in Subjective Cosmology, his solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (2016). He also received the Arts and Letters Award in Art (2018) presented by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Biggers currently lives and works in New York, NY.