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The Phillips Collection and the University of Maryland Present International Forum in Washington

Artist Sanford Biggers to keynote and participate in conversations during annual event at the Phillips.


Alana Carchedi Coyle , 301-405-0235


COLLEGE PARK, Md. and WASHINGTON, D.C. — Academic and artistic partners The Phillips Collection and the University of Maryland (UMD) will present the International Forum in Washington on Saturday, November 4, 2017.

An annual event hosted at the Phillips, this year’s program will include a prestigious Duncan Phillips Lecture presented by artist Sanford Biggers, recipient of a 2017 Rome Prize. Following his lecture, Biggers will participate in a conversation with artist‐scholar Curlee Holton, Executive Director of UMD’s David C. Driskell Center, focusing on the rise, role, and impact of “artists of consciousness” in society.

Also planned during the program, Fatimah Asghar, influential poet and co‐creator of the web series Brown Girls, will offer a reading, followed by a conversation with Dr. Susan Dwyer, Associate Professor in Philosophy at UMD and Executive Director of UMD Honors College.

“Art remains a relevant and unique tool for prompting reflection and dialogue on a wide range of issues influencing our present and future,” said Director Dorothy Kosinski. “Through personal expression, artists across disciplines help us make sense of our world. As an extension of our longstanding partnership with the University of Maryland, I am pleased that the Phillips will again host an important exchange of ideas during International Forum, which will be deeply enriched this year by the invaluable insights of Sanford Biggers and Fatimah Asghar.”

“The International Forum is a perfect example of how academia and art intersect to create and enhance dialogue around important social and political issues, as addressed by Sanford Biggers and Fatimah Asghar in their work,” said UMD Senior Vice President and Provost Mary Ann Rankin. “We are glad to host this event with The Phillips Collection as we continue our partnership to transform scholarship and innovation in the arts.”


Sanford Biggers

A Los Angeles native currently working in New York, Sanford Biggers integrates film, video, installation, sculpture, drawing, original music, and performance to spark conversation about race and culture. He explores issues such as hip hop, Buddhism, politics, identity, and art history, offering new perspectives and associations for established symbols. His multidisciplinary works often address racial violence and the history of trauma for African Americans in hopes of promoting dialogue about our shared past.

Biggers’s work has been celebrated through solo exhibitions nationally and internationally—most recently at the Brooklyn Museum in New York; Sculpture Center in Long Island City, New York; and Mass MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts. He has also participated in prestigious residencies and fellowships, including Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany, and ARCUS Project Foundation in Ibaraki, Japan. He has also been a fellow of the Creative Time Global Residency, the Eyebeam Atelier Teaching Residency, and the Studio Museum AIR Program.

Biggers’s installations, videos, and performances have appeared in venues worldwide including Tate Britain and Tate Modern in London, the Whitney Museum and Studio Museum in New York, and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, as well as institutions in China, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Poland and Russia. His works are included in the collections of the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum, Brooklyn Museum, and Bronx Museum in New York.

Biggers is Associate Professor and Director of Sculpture at Columbia University’s Visual Arts program and a board member of Sculpture Center, Soho House, and the CUE Foundation. He has also taught at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Sculpture and Expanded Media program and was a visiting scholar at Harvard University's VES Department in 2009.


Fatimah Asghar

Fatimah Asghar is an acclaimed poet, screenwriter, educator, and performer. She is the writer and co‐creator of Brown Girls, a web series that highlights friendships between women of color, which debuted in February 2017 and was recently picked up by HBO to be adapted for television. Her work has appeared in many journals, including POETRY Magazine, Gulf Coast, BuzzFeed Reader, The Margins, The Offing, Academy of American Poets, and many others. Her work has been featured on news outlets including PBS, NPR, TIME, Teen Vogue, and The Huffington Post.

While on a Fulbright fellowship studying theater in post‐genocidal countries in 2011, she created a spoken word poetry group in Bosnia and Herzegovina called REFLEKS. She is a member of the Dark Noise Collective and a Kundiman Fellow. In 2017, she was the recipient of the Ruth Lilly Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. Her chapbook After came out on Yes Yes Books fall 2015. Her debut book of poems Today We’re American is forthcoming on One World/ Random House.

Admission for the event is $12; free for students and Phillips members. To purchase tickets, click here.


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