Skip to Primary Menu Skip to Utility Menu Skip to Main Content Skip to Footer

The Institute of the Arts and Sciences Galleries will be closed June 7 and 8 for a private event.

UC Santa Cruz Logo Institute of the Arts and Sciences
UC Santa Cruz Logo

Sanford Biggers

Home / Sanford Biggers

Sanford Biggers (lives in New York City) works in diverse media to create art which speaks to current social, political, and economic happenings while also examining the contexts that bore them. He explores often overlooked cultural and political narratives from U.S. history and their present ramifications. Recent works engage the racialized violences of the United States criminal justice system, while envisioning the possibility of transformation and transcendence from the systems that perpetuate such violences.

Featured Artwork (Tab to skip section.)


BAM (Seated Warrior)

Courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen

Polished Bronze BAM (Seated Warrior) is part of a series of works for which Biggers dips small wooden African sculptures in brown wax before having them repeatedly shot by a range of firearms. The remains of the statues, pockmarked and shattered, are cast in bronze, commemorating Black lives lost to police shootings. For BAM (Seated Warrior), Biggers reproduced one of the small, damaged figurines at a larger-than-human size, both transforming and exaggerating the violence done to the original. Despite its wounds, the sculpture is radiant with power and beauty.


Infinite Tabernacle

Courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen

Video installation and carpet Infinite Tabernacle features videos of multiple African figurines splintering under a barrage of bullets. The videos not only show the figurines being riddled with bullets but, as the violence reverses course in rewind, also being made whole again. Between the luminescence of BAM (Seated Warrior) and the reversal of Infinite Tabernacle emerges the possibility that the racist systems of policing and incarceration can be—and are being—resisted and “transcended,” to use Biggers’s term.

Sanford Bigger’s work is also featured in the following Barring Freedom study guide: Abolition Futures


Sanford Biggers was awarded the 2017 Rome Prize in Visual Arts. He has had solo exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2018), the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (2016), the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (2012) and the Brooklyn Museum (2011), among others. His work has been shown in several institutional group exhibitions including at the Menil Collection (2008) and the Tate Modern (2007), and also recent exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2017) and the Barnes Foundation (2017). Biggers’ work is held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Walker Center, Minneapolis; the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington D.C.; the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas; and the Legacy Museum, Montgomery, among others.

Make a Difference (Tab to skip section.)

Make a Difference

Your support is critical. At the Institute of the Arts and Sciences (IAS), we believe the arts are essential in society and education, vital in the cultivation of engaged communities and critical thinkers. Your gift, no matter the amount, helps keep arts programming flourishing at UC Santa Cruz.