THE NEW NOW SALE at Phillips London yielded six artist records, including a new benchmark for Sanford Biggers. “Sag, Harbor Honeystuckle” (2013) by Biggers sold for £27,500 ($35,945) fees included, an artist record, according to the auction house and the Artprice database. The mixed-media work is a repurposed quilt with fabric collage, acrylic, and glitter.


Lot 11: SANFORD BIGGERS, “Sag, Harbor Honeystuckle,” 2013 (fabric collage, treated acrylic, metallic acrylic and glitter on re-purposed quilt, 178.3 x 197.5 cm / 70 1/4 x 77 3/4 inches). | Estimate 20,000-30,000 British Pounds. Sold for 27,500 British Pounds ($35,945) fees included. RECORD


“Sag, Harbor Honeystuckle” was featured in New Now on April 11. The contemporary art auction included 247 lots. In addition to Biggers, works by Nari Ward, Oscar Murillo, Rashid Johnson, Mickalene Thomas, and Andres Serrano, were among the lots offered.

The foundation for “Sag, Harbor Honeystuckle” is a previously owned quilt defined by a traditional pattern. Biggers transformed the quilt creating a contemporary, mixed-media abstraction with layered meaning. The lot essay from Phillips explains how the artist regards his source textiles: “Viewing himself as a collaborator with the work of the African and African American artists and artisans who came before him, Biggers borrows, enhances and memorializes their work, as well as their struggles, through his own object-making.”

“Viewing himself as a collaborator with the work of the African and African American artists and artisans who came before him, Biggers borrows, enhances and memorializes their work, as well as their struggles, through his own object-making.” — Sotheby’s

BORN IN LOS ANGELES, Biggers lives and works in New York City, where he is a professor of art at Columbia University. He won the Rome Prize in 2017. His work is in many public and private collections and he has exhibited widely, most recently in a solo show at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. Later this year, the exhibition is traveling to the Chazen Museum of Art at University of Wisconsin-Madison (June 28-Sept. 22) and the Tufts University Art Gallery in Medford, Mass. (Oct. 17-Dec. 15).

On his website, Biggers describes his practice, which spans a wide range of mediums, from textiles, sculpture, and drawing to film, video, installation, original music, and performance. He says his work, “intentionally complicates issues such as hip hop, Buddhism, politics, identity and art history in order to offer new perspectives and associations for established symbols. Through a multi-disciplinary formal process and a syncretic creative approach he makes works that are as aesthetically pleasing as they are conceptual.”

A FEATURE PUBLISHED in Architectural Digest reports on how Biggers acquires the quilts he repurposes. He hit the jackpot thanks to a supportive patron:

    When artist Sanford Biggers arrives at his studio, he never knows what he’s going to find on his doorstep. Often, it’s a box full of quilts. And, contrary to how some might react to their art studio being converted into a glorified donation drop-off, Biggers is thrilled. Sparked by one of his collectors donating dozens of her own quilts, Biggers has been working magic on found textiles ever since, repurposing, patchworking, and turning them into geometric feasts that are as provocative as they are beautiful.

The article goes on to delineate the artist’s earliest exposure to textiles:

    From a young age, Biggers was fascinated with textiles. When his older cousin—the muralist and painter John Biggers—returned from a trip to Ghana full of knowledge about African textiles, those graphic influences began to seep into his projects. “I grew up with this work and was always sort of mesmerized by how it looked…,” Biggers says.

“Sag, Harbor Honeystuckle,” was on view in “Soft Pictures,” a group exhibition focused on the use of textiles in contemporary art. The 2014 exhibition was presented at Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, Italy.

The previous record for Biggers was set in May 2018, when “BAM (For Jordan),” an African sculpture and HD video, sold at Sotheby’s New York for $23,750 (fees included). Part of the Creating Space sale, proceeds from the lot benefitted the Studio Museum in Harlem’s building fund. CT


FIND MORE about Sanford Biggers on his website

FIND MORE about Sanford Biggers in a New Yorker profile published last year


FIND MORE about French court decision opening door for artist royalties


Forthcoming in July, “Sanford Biggers” documents the artist’s solo show organized by the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. The book features contributions by Naomi Beckwith and Khalil Gibran Muhammad, among others. “Sanford Biggers: Sweet Funk An Introspective” accompanied the artists exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. Described as the first scholarly publication to chronicle the artist, “Sanford Biggers: Moon Medicine” was published to coincide with an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Arts, Santa Barbara.


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