Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch

Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York, United States
09 Sep 2020 - 24 Jan 2021

Sanford Biggers, Khemetstry, 2017. Courtesy the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery.

Sanford Biggers, Khemetstry, 2017. Courtesy the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery.

The Bronx Museum of the Arts presents Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch, the first survey of quilt-based works by the award-winning, New York-based interdisciplinary artist. The solo show features over 60 quilt-based works by the artist that seamlessly weave American history into a broader context of global traditions and styles.

For over two decades, Biggers has been developing a singular body of work that is deeply informed by African American history and traditions, and sustains a rich dialog with contemporary art on a national and international level, referencing urban culture, the body, sacred geometry, and American symbolism.

The title of the Bronx Museum exhibition, Codeswitch, refers to both the artists’ quilt series known as the Codex series and to the idea of code-switching itself, or shifting from one linguistic code to another depending on the social context. The Codex series includes mixed media paintings and sculptures done directly on or made from pre-1900 antique quilts. This process, like linguistic code-switching, recognizes language plurality, as the quilts signal their original creator’s intent as well as the new layers of meaning given to them through Biggers’s artistic intervention.

Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch is a joint collaboration between The Bronx Museum of the Arts and Rivers Institute for Contemporary Art & Thought, New Orleans, overseen by Sergio Bessa (Bronx Museum Curator) and Andrea Andersson, (Founding Director and Chief Curator, Rivers Institute). After closing at The Bronx Museum of the Arts on January 24, 2021, Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch will be on view at the Museum of African Art in Los Angeles from March 26 to September 12, 2021. It will then travel to the Contemporary Art Center in New Orleans from October 20, 2021 to January 23, 2022.

The catalogue co-published with Yale University Press will feature essays by Sergio Bessa and Andrea Andersson along with guest writers, documenting the entire series of quilts produced by the artist. The book includes a forward by Gregory Tate and a 20-page graphic work by John Jennings in collaboration with David Brame and Esperanza Bey.




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