On the Cover:
Sanford Biggers, Caniggula (detail), 2020. White marble on custom cedar plinth, 77.13 x 33 x 32.88 in. overall. Photo: Lance Brewer, © Sanford Biggers, Courtesy the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen.
Every artwork, one might argue, contains evidence of its maker’s past, but the artists featured in this issue frequently draw on their familial traditions and personal histories. Using materials found, among other places, on the riverbanks of his hometown, Daniel Giordano makes his sculptures in a studio that was once his family’s coat factory. Brooke Kamin Rapaport, in her insightful essay on Shinique Smith, writes, “For her, there is personal meaning in the binding, associated with her life and with certain subjects of her study, including Indigenous American medicine bags, Aztec sacred bundles from central Mexico, and Peruvian burial bundles. Smith cites her grandmother’s use of patterned fabrics throughout the family home.” Marion Verboom, who grew up around castles in France, explains how they had a powerful influence on her architectural approach and the rococo elements in her work. Sanford Biggers’s code-switching works mine his past through materials: his “Chimera” pieces fuse elements of African sculpture with neoclassical European examples, while other pieces are informed by, for instance, the Rastafarianism that he studied in his youth. Liana Strasberg draws on memories for her investigations of the body in works that explore, among other things, the “dissolution of the border between public and private.” “My idea,” she tells María Carolina Baulo, “was to create a personal narrative, like feminine writing flowing through the plotline of the symbolic repertoire.”
That wavering line between public and private also runs through public art, which is the subject of this month’s special advertising section as well as other features in this issue. As spring takes hold in the northern hemisphere, these reports remind us to get outside and soak up the art. —Daniel Kunitz