McKinney Visiting Artist IU Department of Studio Art, April 5-8, 2017
Co-sponsors: IU Islamic Studies Program; and the Robert E. and Avis Tarrant Burke Lecture Series, IU Department of Art History
Los Angeles artist Sandow Birk, a graduate of the Otis/Parson's Art Institute, deals with contemporary life in its entirety in his work, with an emphasis on social issues. Frequently developed as expansive, multi-media projects, themes in his work have included inner city violence, graffiti, social and political issues, travel, war, prisons, Islam, surfing, and skateboarding. He was a recipient of an NEA International Travel Grant to Mexico City in 1995, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1996, and a Fulbright Fellowship to Rio de Janeiro in 1997. In 1999 he was awarded a Getty Fellowship for painting, followed by a City of Los Angeles (COLA) Fellowship in 2001. One of his projects involved rewriting and illustrating the entire Divine Comedy into contemporary American English. A feature film of the project, Dante’s Inferno, was released in 2007. He was awarded an Artist Research Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. in 2007, and he was an Artist in Residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris in 2008, and at the Ballinglen Arts Foundation in Ireland in 2011. In 2014 he was named as a United States Artist (USA) Knight Fellow in visual arts. His recently published American Qur’an is a hand-transcription of the entire Qur'an according to historic Islamic traditions, with the text illuminated with relevant scenes from contemporary American life. Nine years in the making, the project was inspired by a decade of extended travel in Islamic regions of the world. His most recent work, Imaginary Monuments, is a series of prints depicting monument inspired by documents that have shaped our world as a way to ponder their effects on our lives.
Sandow Birk is represented by the Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco, by P.P.O.W Gallery in New York City, and by Koplin del Rio Gallery in Seattle.