Sanford Biggers, BAM (for Michael), 2016. Bronze with black patina, 19 x 6 x 4 inches. Collection of Dr. Daniel Berger, Chicago. Courtesy the artist; Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago; Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen; and Massimo De Carlo, Milan/London/Hong Kong. © Sanford Biggers.
Artist Sanford Biggers has a late addition to his namesake exhibition,, now on display at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (3750 Washington Blvd., 314-535-4660). The new piece, BAM (for Michael)
, is a sculpture inspired by the life, and death, of Michael Brown, the unarmed Ferguson man shot to death by police officer Darren Wilson in 2014.
Biggers creates work that is intended to open dialogue about American history and trauma, because for black Americans the two subjects are intertwined. His sculptural work is built on the skeleton of traditional African art. Biggers buys African statues, whether authentic or not, dips them in wax and then places them on a firing range; they are then shot according to his instruction. Smashed and disfigured by the bullets, the figures are finally cast in bronze.
They're part of Biggers' open-ended series titled BAM
, which commemorate individuals slain by police. Among them are BAM (for Terence)
, BAM (for Sandra)
, BAM (for Jordan)
, which commemorate Terence Crutcher, Sandra Bland, Jordan Edwards. All three pieces are at CAM now.
In a press release issued by CAM, Biggers credits Brown's mother Lezley McSpadden for the sculpture's inclusion in the show.
"Meeting and having Lezley present during the opening week was a very important and emotional moment," Biggers says. "I have the deepest respect and deference for her and her openness throughout this tragedy. When she said 'thank you for thinking about my son,' my honest response was that I have never stopped."
McSpadden sees BAM (for Michael)
as a monument to her son. "A sculpture that captures such a significant moment and individual in time should really be called a monument, as Sanford’s work certainly serves to remind us of what we should never forget and commemorates the moment in time when we decided enough is enough. His work bears witness to what happens when the hate you give becomes the catalyst for change that still stands, still speaks, and still lives."
BAM (for Michael)
will remain on display as part of Biggers' current show through December 30. CAM is open until Wednesday through Sunday; if you want to see it today, the museum is open until 8 p.m. on Friday.
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