Biography

"[Birk] is paying close, complicated attention to what may be the single most important, and least understood, book in the world at present. Just by trying to introduce it to a new audience, and to do so with maximum ease and minimum harm, “American Qu’ran” is an ambitious and valuable undertaking." - Holland Cotter, New York Times

"The work of American printmaker Sandow Birk is anything but boring and nothing if not informed."
- Patrick Mahon, Open Studio Publishing, Toronto

"Birk is unafraid to engage the ugly truths of our time and ranks among the more sharply satiric artists of our era.” - Art ltd. Magazine

"Birk is pursuing one of the most fascinating, unpredictable careers in Los Angeles art."
- New Times Los Angeles

"Sandow Birk emerges from the same just-left-of-the-mainstream school that bred [other] latter-day artists and he offers a further testament to the insight, intelligence, and wit with which the post-baby boomer generation is utilizing its pop-culture saturation."
- LA Weekly

“[Birk's] version of the "Inferno" is God's face in a Groucho mask, a triumphant cathedral that will bring new readers to Dante… and new converts to the growing church of Sandow Birk.”
- S.F. Chronicle

“Birk has got at the parts of L.A. that recall Piranesi, not David Hockney, the sinister noir terrain of freeway overpasses and cuttings and drainage ditches that create a stacked-up, tangled vertical landscape far from the flat, sunshiny L.A. of the usual iconography.”
- London Review of Books

"This is what Birk always does—he makes lesser-known aspects and episodes of history exciting and relevant. From the California statehood conflicts to the Stonewall protests and surfer- centric environmentalism, he’s adept at re-contextualizing and he takes it all very seriously."
- Art Ltd. Magazine

Los Angeles artist Sandow Birk is a well traveled graduate of the Otis/Parson's Art Institute. Frequently developed as expansive, multi-media projects, his works have dealt with contemporary life in its entirety. With an emphasis on social issues, frequent themes of his past work have included inner city violence, graffiti, political issues, travel, war, and prisons, as well as surfing and skateboarding. He was a recipient of an NEA International Travel Grant to Mexico City in 1995 to study mural painting, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1996, and a Fulbright Fellowship for painting to Rio de Janeiro for 1997. In 1999 he was awarded a Getty Fellowship for painting, followed by a City of Los Angeles (COLA) Fellowship in 2001. In 2007 he was an artist in residence at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, and at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris in 2008. His most recent project involves a consideration of the Qur’an as relevant to contemporary life in America.

Sandow is represented by the Koplin del Rio Gallery in Los Angeles, Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco, and P.P.O.W. Gallery in New York City.