Sanford Biggers


SCAD deFINE ART 2021 honoree Sanford Biggers’ solo exhibition at the Walter O. Evans Center for African American Studies functions as a selective survey, bringing together an array of works that spans the past 20 years of the artist’s prolific practice. Biggers’ work is conceived through a cleaving of references from myriad domains including European Modernism, Dada, abstraction, traditional African sculpture, Buddhism, and American history vis-à-vis The Underground Railroad and the Black Power movement, which all coalesce within the artist’s own intricate aesthetic imaginings. Beyond its compelling visual potency, Biggers’ work is a visceral experience that signals a clarion call for our need to actively combat the legally condoned racism that continues to threaten the lives of Black Americans. The artist’s creations are loaded with symbolic inferences steeped in sociopolitical information, although they remain at the will of his creative subjectivity. Biggers communicates feeling rather than a fidelity to history, combining a trove of narratives to form a vision of human experience.

In conjunction with this comprehensive exhibition, the artist will give the deFINE ART 2021 keynote lecture.

Signature image for Sanford Biggers exhibition
Sanford Biggers, "Ghettobird Tunic," 2006, bubble jacket and various bird feathers, 32 1/2 x 36 x 17 in. Courtesy of the artist and David Castillo Gallery, Miami.

About the artist

Sanford Biggers (b. 1970, Los Angeles) is the recipient of numerous awards and honors: in 2020 he was awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship, in 2019 he was inducted into the New York Foundation for the Arts Hall of Fame, in 2018 he received the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, and in 2017 he was presented with the Rome Prize in Visual Arts. Biggers’ solo exhibition Codeswitch, which features more than 50 of the artist’s quilt-based works, is currently on view at the Bronx Museum of the Arts through January 2021 and will travel to the California African American Museum, Los Angeles, in March 2021 and the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans in October 2021. Biggers has also presented solo exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Brooklyn Museum, among others. His work has been shown in group exhibitions at the Menil Collection and Tate Modern, in addition to recent exhibitions at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Barnes Foundation. Biggers’ work is held in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; the Walker Center, Minneapolis; the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C.; the Dallas Museum of Art; and the Legacy Museum, Montgomery, among others. He lives and works in New York.

Install Views

Programs and events


Contra/Diction is curated by Humberto Moro, adjunct curator, and Ariella Wolens, former assistant curator. It is presented as part of SCAD deFINE ART 2021, the university’s annual program of exhibitions, lectures, and performances, held virtually Feb. 23–25 with select events in Atlanta and Savannah, Ga.

Museum Admission

The exhibition is free for museum members and SCAD students, faculty, and staff with a valid SCAD Card. Open to the public with the cost of museum admission.

More on view