At David Castillo Gallery’s booth at the Armory Show, everything—even the tiled linoleum floor—is by the artist Sanford Biggers, whose sculptures, paintings, and installations synthesize many strands of African-American history. Included in the Miami gallery’s booth are works both new and old, from a 1995 sculpture made of a bubble jacket and bird feathers to just-finished paintings shipped directly to the fair from Rome, where Biggers is current working, thanks to a residency at the American Academy. (He was named one of the winners of the 2017-18 Rome Prize last April.)
Biggers’s new works are paintings that make use of antique quilts—some from the late 19th century, others from the early 20th century—that are combined to establish what David Castillo, the gallery’s director, called a “long history.” The quilts, he said, “had different functions up until their current iteration, where they become formal paintings.” They resemble a kind of collaged geometrical abstraction, albeit one that has more of a political underpinning than similar pieces. Each of the quilt pieces is priced between $25,000 and $60,000.
Although none of the pieces had yet to find buyers by early Wednesday afternoon, Castillo felt confident that they would be snapped up shortly. “We’ve had several museums come by with interest, as well as several collectors, from the Rubells on down, so I suspect they’ll do well,” he said. “This is all I have by Biggers, anyway. Everything else is sold, so I’m not worried on the sales front.”