ARTIST, HUMANITIES ADVISOR Sanford Biggers
All my work is created from personal experiences. My hope is always that others will see it as a gateway, develop their own message and feel a part of the art.
Sanford first received critical attention when his collaborative work with David Ellis, Mandala of the B-Bodhisattva II, was included in the exhibition “Freestyle”, curated by Thelma Golden at the Studio Museum of Harlem in 2001.
Since, his works have been presented internationally including the Tate Modern in London, the Renaissance Society in Chicago, Prospect 1 in New Orleans and the Whitney Biennial, The Kitchen and Performa 07 (curated by Roselee Goldberg) in New York.
Mr. Biggers’s art frequently references African-American ethnography, hip hop music, Budhism, African spirituality, Indo-European Vodoun, jazz, Afro-futurism, urban culture and icons from Americana. He claims to place “no hierarchy on chronology, references or media”, and his work have been characterized by meditation and improvisation. His themes are “meant to broaden and complicate our read on American history.”
In 2014, Mr. Biggers departed from his typical medium by painting on quilts that were given to him by the descendants of slave owners. Mr. Biggers is Affiliate Faculty at the Virginia Commonwealth University, Sculpture and Expanded Media program, and was a visiting scholar at Harvard University’s VES Department in 2009. He was previously an Assistant Professor at Columbia University’s Visual Arts program.
In 2019, Mr. Biggers was inducted into the New York Foundation for the Arts Hall of Fame. In 2010, he was awarded the Greenfield Prize at the Hermitage Artist Retreat, a two-year residency and commission of new work. The commission formed the centerpiece of Sanford Biggers: Codex, a 2012 solo exhibition at the Ringling Museum, curated by Matthew McLendon.
In 2009 he received the William H. Johnson Prize, and was one of the three finalists for the inaugural Jack Wolgin International Competition in the Fine Arts, the largest juried prize in the world to go to an individual visual artist. In 2008, Mr. Biggers received the Creative Capital Award in the discipline of Visual Arts. He was also an Eyebeam Artist-in-Residence in 2000.
In 2018, Mr. Biggers was interviewed by Vinson Cunningham, a writer for the New Yorker magazine about his impact on contemporary political art and his role in the Black Lives Matter movement. Also in 2018, Mr. Biggers was given an art award by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.