2009-10 OFA Flashback: Going Public with Biggers and Duehr

by OFA Staff

Throughout the summer, the Harvard Arts Beat blog will take a look back at significant events and program highlights sponsored by the Office for the Arts. This post recounts projects with artists Sanford Biggers and Gary Duehr sponsored by the OFA's Public Art program.

Just in the past twelve months, Sanford Biggers’ art has been presented in Cambridge, Miami, Berlin, Portland, Philadelphia, Baltimore, London, Louisville, Santa Barbara, and five venues in New York. With inspirations ranging from Afrofuturism to Japanese Buddhist rituals, the artist’s work is at the forefront of the inventive cultural fusions shaping global arts today.

In November 2009, Memorial Hall was the site of his new installation/performance work Constellation (Stranger Fruit), commissioned by the OFA’s Public Art Program.

Check it out and hear from the artist about his work and residency at Harvard on the Public Art page.

In a workshop sponsored by the Public Art Program last spring, students created Border Crossing, a powerful and politically-charged installation presented during ARTS FIRST. Guided by artist Gary Duehr and in collaboration with Harvard College Human Rights Advocates, participants explored the intersection of art and activism. The resulting artwork highlighted political oppression in Burma with symbolic materials such as saffron fabric (the color of Burmese monks’ robes) and interactive strategies such as asking visitors to acquire a visa for passing through the Yard gates and to pose for digital "mug shots."

[Caption: installation/performance work "Constellation (Stranger Fruit)" by Sanford Biggers]

[Caption: "Border Crossing" in Arts First 2010]