“Bonsai” (2016) by Sanford Biggers

 
On View presents images from noteworthy exhibitions
 

WORKING WITH ANTIQUE, pre-1900 quilts, Sanford Biggers makes mixed-media works that present as painted textiles and sculptural installations. The quilt-based works are inspired by the modern and contemporary artistry of the Black women who have been making quilts in Gee’s Bend, Ala., for generations and the rumored lore surrounding quilts as signposts and communications vehicles on the Underground Railroad. Biggers’s works introduce the concept of code-switching and reference computer coding and the layered meaning embedded in the materiality of the works across generations and contexts. Biggers lives and works in New York. Closing this week, “Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch” features nearly 50 works of art at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, the artist’s hometown.

 

“Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch” is on view at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, from July 28, 2021-Jan. 23, 2022

FIND MORE about the exhibition

 


Sanford Biggers shares some of the inspirations and references in his quilt-based works. | Video by CAAM

 


Gallery entrance, “Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch,” California African American Museum (CAAM), Los Angeles (July 28, 2021-Jan. 23, 2022). | Image Courtesy CAAM

 


Installation view, “Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch,” California African American Museum (CAAM), Los Angeles (July 28, 2021-Jan. 23, 2022). Shown, Far left, “Nyabinghi,” 2017 (antique quilts, assorted textiles, wood, aluminum, glass, Plexiglas, acrylic, burnt cork, 90 x 75 inches), Collection of Ilana and Michael Frishberg. | Image Courtesy CAAM

 


Installation view, “Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch,” California African American Museum (CAAM), Los Angeles (July 28, 2021-Jan. 23, 2022). Shown, From left, “Quilt 27 (Horatius Cocles)” (2013); “Quilt 16 (Buddha Bless)” (2013); “Harlem Blue” (2013); and “Quilt 10” (2012). | Image Courtesy CAAM

 


SANFORD BIGGERS, “Harlem Blue,” 2013 (antique quilt, assorted textile, acrylic, spray paint, 88 x 88 inches), Private Collection. | Image Courtesy CAAM

 


Installation view, “Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch,” California African American Museum (CAAM), Los Angeles (July 28, 2021-Jan. 23, 2022). Shown, From left, “Quilt 16 (Buddha Bless)” (2013); “Quilt 28” (2013); “Quilt 29 (Dark Star)” (2013); and “Shifter” (2014). | Image Courtesy CAAM

 


Installation view, “Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch,” California African American Museum (CAAM), Los Angeles (July 28, 2021-Jan. 23, 2022). Shown, From left, “100 Years Too Soon” (2017); “Ooo Oui” (2017); “Sakura” (2014); and “Bonsai” (2016). | Image Courtesy CAAM

 


Installation view, “Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch,” California African American Museum (CAAM), Los Angeles (July 28, 2021-Jan. 23, 2022). Shown, From left, “Bonsai,” 2016 (antique quilt, assorted textiles, spray paint, oil stick, tar, 69 x 93 inches), Courtesy of the Artist; “Kubrick’s Rube,” 2020 (antique quilts, birch plywood, gold leaf, 52 x 34 x 34 inches (Faces of cubes, each 15 inches), Courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen; and “Quo Vadis?,” 2019 (antique quilt, assorted textiles, gold leaf, acrylic, charcoal, 47.25 x 38.25 inches), Private Collection. | Image Courtesy CAAM

 


Installation view, “Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch,” California African American Museum (CAAM), Los Angeles (July 28, 2021-Jan. 23, 2022). | Image Courtesy CAAM

 


Installation view, “Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch,” California African American Museum (CAAM), Los Angeles (July 28, 2021-Jan. 23, 2022). Shown, From left, “Chorus for Paul Mooney,” 2017 (antique quilt, assorted textiles, acrylic, spray paint, 76 x 76 inches), Collection of Mr. Brian Ruhl and Mr. Ozgur Ozar; “Mandala of the B-Bodhisattva II,” 2000 (single channel video, 12:21 minutes), Courtesy of the Artist; and “Banneker,” 2016 (antique quilt, birch plywood, gold leaf, 44 x 62.25 x 15 inches), Collection of Alan Kluger and the honorable Amy Dean, Aventura, FL. Courtesy of David Castillo, Miami. | Image Courtesy CAAM

 


Installation view, “Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch,” California African American Museum (CAAM), Los Angeles (July 28, 2021-Jan. 23, 2022). Shown, From left, “Orpheus,” 2020 (antique quilt, assorted textiles, wood, 82 x 83.50 inches), Collection of Peter Marino; “whence, wince,” 2020 (antique quilts, charcoal, 151 x 89 x 85 inches), Courtesy the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen; and “Floral Seated Warrior,” 2017 (antique quilt, assorted textiles, burnt cork, 64 x 72 inches), Courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen. | Image Courtesy CAAM

 


Installation view, “Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch,” California African American Museum (CAAM), Los Angeles (July 28, 2021-Jan. 23, 2022). Shown, Suspended at center, “Cheshire (Guapa),” 2014 (antique quilt, assorted textiles, acrylic, 76 x 75 inches), Courtesy David Castillo, Miami. | Image Courtesy CAAM

 


Installation view, “Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch,” California African American Museum (CAAM), Los Angeles (July 28, 2021-Jan. 23, 2022). Shown, From left, “Ecclesiastes 1 (KJV),” 2020 (antique quilt, assorted textiles, wood, 77.50 x 70.50 inches), Private Collection; and “Big Dada,” 2018 (antique quilt, birch plywood, gold leaf, 66 x 96 x 7 inches), Bill & Christy Gautreaux Collection, Kansas City, Mo. | Image Courtesy CAAM

 


Installation view, “Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch,” California African American Museum (CAAM), Los Angeles (July 28, 2021-Jan. 23, 2022). | Image Courtesy CAAM

 


Installation view, “Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch,” California African American Museum (CAAM), Los Angeles (July 28, 2021-Jan. 23, 2022). Shown, In foreground, from left, “Moonrising,” 2014 (color video with sound, 7:35 minutes) Directed by Terence Nance, Photo direction by Shawn Peters, Music by Moon Medicin, Performances by Fanon Wilkins and San Dolo, Courtesy the Artist; “Incognito,” 2014 (antique quilt, assorted textiles, acrylic, spray paint, oil stick, glitter, 44 x 45 inches), Collection of Leslie and Gregory Ferrero, Courtesy of David Castillo, Miami; and “Hat & Beard,” 2016 (antique quilt, assorted textiles, acrylic, spray paint, silkscreen on muslin, oil stick, tar, glitter, 79 x 79 inches), Private collection, Chicago. | Image Courtesy CAAM

 


Installation view, “Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch,” California African American Museum (CAAM), Los Angeles (July 28, 2021-Jan. 23, 2022). Shown, From left, “Tyranny of Mirrors” (2017); “Transition” (2018); “Negerplastik” (2016); and “Quilt 17 (Sugar, Pork, Bourbon)” (2013). | Image Courtesy CAAM

 


Installation view, “Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch,” California African American Museum (CAAM), Los Angeles (July 28, 2021-Jan. 23, 2022). | Image Courtesy CAAM

 

TOP IMAGE: SANFORD BIGGERS, “Bonsai,” 2016 (antique quilt, assorted textiles, spray paint, oil stick, tar, 69 x 93 inches). | © Sanford Biggers, Courtesy the Artist

 

FIND MORE about Sanford Biggers on his website

FIND MORE about Sanford Biggers receiving a 2021 Heinz Award, a $250,000 prize

 

READ MORE about the disputed associations between quilts and the Underground Railroad published by a variety of outlets, including the Smithsonian, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Time magazine

 

BOOKSHELF
“Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch” documents the exhibition, which originated at The Bronx Museum of the Arts in New York. Co-edited by Andrea Andersson and Antonio Sergio Bessa, contributors include Greg Tate, among others. Recently published, “Sanford Biggers” explores the artist’s BAM series on the occasion of its presentation at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.

 

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