"Sanford Biggers" by Andrea Andersson

Sanford Biggers Codeswitch Andrea Andersson, Antonio Sergio Bessa, Greg Tate, Jacqueline Tobin, Raymond Dobard, Mia Kang, John Jennings, David Brame, Esperanza Bey

Publication date:
14 Apr 2020
Yale University Press
192 pages: 260 x 241mm
129 color illus.
Sales territories:

Sanford Biggers (b. 1970) is a Harlem-based artist working in various media including painting, sculpture, video, and performance. He describes his practice as “code-switching”—mixing disparate elements to create layers of meaning—to account for his wide-ranging interests. This catalogue focuses on a series of repurposed quilts (many made in the 19th century) that embodies this interest in mixture. Informed by the significance of quilts to the Underground Railroad, Biggers transforms the quilts into new works using materials such as paint, tar, glitter, and charcoal to add his own layers of codes, whether they be historical, political, or purely artistic. Insightful essays survey Biggers’s career, his art in relation to music, and the history upon which the series draws. Also featured is a short yet powerful graphic essay by an award-winning illustrator that introduces the layered meanings inherent in the art and craft of quilting.

Andrea Andersson is the Helis Foundation Chief Curator of the Visual Arts at the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans. Antonio Sergio Bessa is director of curatorial programs at the Bronx Museum of the Arts.

The Bronx Museum of the Arts
(April 8–September 6, 2020)

Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans
(October 21, 2020–February 28, 2021)

California African American Museum, Los Angeles
(March–September 2021)