MAM Art Talks Thursday : Sanford Biggers

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sanford biggers
Sakrua, 2014, antique quilt fragments, spray paint, acrylic, and assorted textile on antique quilt. Courtesy of the artist and David Castillo Gallery, Miami FL.

This Thursday, November 20, join Montclair Art Museum’s Art Talk on Sandford Biggers.

Biggers is an interdisciplinary artist who works in film/video, installation, sculpture, music, and performance. He has achieved international prominence over the last decade with a diverse body of work that explores themes of identity, race, American history, and spirituality, often by blending installation and performance. In Codex, a recent project, Biggers continues to probe these themes through another stylistic departure: painting on historical quilts, many of which were gifts to the artist from descendants of slave owners.

sanford biggers
Sanford Biggers, “Danpatsu,” 2004. 8:03min color single-channel DVD with sound.

His latest work, Danpatsu,  is a single-channel video simultaneously screened on two monitors for MAM’s outdoor video program. Part of Biggers’ “Both/And Not Either/Or” series, this work presents the artist dressed in traditional Japanese robes and seated in a meditation posture in a forest.

He is approached by a woman, clad in a kimono, who carefully and ceremoniously cuts off his long dreadlocks: a reference to danpatsu-shiki, the ritual removal of a sumo wrestler’s topknot when he retires. The simple yet startling act of the haircut evokes a web of associations surrounding cultural identities, masculinity, and sexuality; while the male topknot holds particular significance in Japan, dreadlocks are likewise meaningful in African-American culture. At once contemplative, disorienting, and thought-provoking, Danpatsu probes the cross-cultural exchange that distinguishes today’s global society.

MAM Art Talks : Sanford Biggers
Thursday, November 20 at 7 pm
MAM, 3 South Mountain Avenue, Montclair, NJ, 07042
$12 members / $15 nonmembers

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