Art Basel Miami Beach

December 1 – December 4, 2016

David Castillo Gallery exhibits new works by Sanford Biggers and Xaviera Simmons in painting, sculpture, photography, and installation for Art Basel Miami Beach Nova section. The works interrupt linear historiography with landscapes physical, cultural, semiotic, and personal.


Biggers considers the ways in which public action, hip-hop, Afrofuturism, Buddhism, and art history collide to recalibrate U.S. history from the platform of forbearances. His work incorporates the collectivity of protest, the DIY sensibility of the Detroit music scene, the cosmic aesthetics of liberation, and the spiritual forms of mandala as readily as it does the folk heritage of quilting.


Biggers’ BAM sculptures were the recent subject of a TED talk by the artist.  The sculptures are made from historical and thrift store African sculptures that are shot with a .22 caliber pistol in a NYC shooting range, dipped in wax and cast in bronze.  The works eerily reference the everyday brutality against people of color, a subject of importance to the world but also to the artist’s work in general and to the conceptual premise of the gallery.


Xaviera Simmons renders a white acrylic text piece on black wooden panels. The hand-painted words are unchecked by normative grammar and punctuation; the text crosses borders between panels and between spacetimes. The painting is a monument to cyclical histories that unsettle personal and public politics. It is diasporic in form and content, a tide moving between historically situated event, named persona, and the imminence of black ocean that washes repeatedly through its language.


A second work by the artist, a new piece from her Index, Composition series will be exhibited.  The works have been acquired by The Guggenheim New York, The MCA Chicago, The Studio Museum in Harlem and dozens of other American institutions.  The highly acclaimed body of photographs deal with the language of indexing, collecting, and cataloguing much like the text work to be exhibited.  The photographs contain images of sculptures, papers, and other objects bound at a person’s waist which demarcate the cultural and personal history of the artist.


Biggers and Simmons enunciate identity within the larger constructs of cultural, historical, art historical, and narrative. The works construct the possibility for personal integrities, embodied and inhabited, to affirm one another against isolation. Derrida names the hauntology of spaces, times, and experiences that irrupt into the present, breaking teleological notions of being. Biggers and Simmons insist on the vitality of bodies of work and bodies of color as they circulate in community.

Sanford Biggers
Xaviera Simmons