RINGLING ILUMINATES INSPIRATIONAL NEW WORK BY SANFORD BIGGERS
CREATED AT THE HERMITAGE ARTIST RETREAT
Sarasota, FL - March 23, 2012 — The newest work by artist Sanford Biggers will premiere at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, March 30 through October 14, 2012. Codex, the latest exhibition in the Ringling’s Art of Our Time series, is comprised of a series of vintage quilts painted with forms inspired by star maps. Both the quilts and star maps reference the journey of Harriet Tubman along the Underground Railroad. Codex is the result of Biggers’ residency at The Hermitage Artist Retreat and his 2010 award of the Greenfield Prize.
“Sanford Biggers’s blending of historical references, contemporary culture, and performance mark him as one of the most significant artists in America today and makes him ideally suited to be part of the Ringling’s Art of Our Time series,” said Steven High, executive director of The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. “We are proud to be partnering with our colleagues at The Hermitage in bringing this remarkable contemporary work to Sarasota that illuminates a challenging time in our nation’s history.”
This inspirational work, part of Biggers Constellation Series, was developed at The Hermitage Artist Retreat on Manasota Key, Fla. The not-for-profit artist community brings mid-career painters, sculptors, writers, playwrights, poets, composers and other artists from all over the world to its 8.5 acre Gulf-front campus in Florida for residencies that result in partnerships and programs that benefit Sarasota County and its residents. The Greenfield prize is awarded annually by The Hermitage Artist Retreat and the Greenfield Foundation to a mid-career artist to create a new work.
“Sanford Biggers latest work continues the exploration of identity, race, African American history, and spirituality through another stylistic departure, painting on historical quilts,” added Dr. Matthew McLendon, the Ringling Museum’s associate curator of modern and contemporary art. “Many of these late nineteenth-, early-twentieth-century quilts were donated to Biggers by the descendant of slave owners adding a poignant historical echo to the work.”
A native of Los Angeles, Calif., and current New York resident, Sanford Biggers uses the study of ethnological objects, popular icons, and the Dadaist tradition to explore cultural and creative syncretism, art history, and politics. An accomplished musician, Biggers often incorporates performative elements into his sculptures and installations, resulting in multilayered works that act as anecdotal vignettes, at once full of wit and clear formal intent. His installations, videos, and performances have appeared in venues worldwide, including the Tate Britain and Tate Modern, London, the Whitney Museum and Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, as well as institutions in China, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Poland and Russia.
The Ringling’s Art of Our Time showcases contemporary visual and performing art by artists, such as Sanford Biggers, that are profoundly influencing culture. Art of Our Time features the on-going presentation of its permanent contemporary art collection, including Joseph’s Coat, the largest Skyspace yet and first in Florida created by internationally renowned artist, James Turrell. It also includes a rotation of special exhibitions, lectures, films, literature and performing arts, such as music, dance and theater.