Biggers draws on a host of disparate influences throughout his practice-from Los Angeles graffiti culture to African American folk traditions, Buddhism, African and European sculptural traditions, and the margins of history. From these sources, Biggers has developed a vocabulary of visual motifs that appear frequently throughout his work: pianos, trees, Cheshire Cat smiles, lotus flowers. In Biggers's hands, these signifiers all become slippery, holding onto multiple meanings, their symbolism altered yet again through each subsequent transmission.
Biggers's work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions throughout his career: Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch, an exhibition devoted to the artist's Codex works and curated by Sergio Bessa and Andrea Andersson, traveled from the Bronx Museum of Art, NY, to the Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY, and the California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA from 2020-2022. Biggers has had additional solo exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, MO; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit, MI; the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MA; Chazen Museum of Art, WI; and the Brooklyn Museum, NY. His work has been shown in numerous group exhibitions, including at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, PA; the Menil Collection, Houston, TX; and the Tate Modern, London, UK, among others.
In 2023, Biggers received The Amistad Center's Spirit of Juneteenth Award, Morehouse College's Bennie Trailblazer Award, a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, and he was elected to the National Academy of Design. In 2021, Biggers was awarded the 26th Heinz Award for the Arts from the Heinz Family Foundation and named Savannah College of Art and Design's deFINE Art Honoree and the MIT Department of Architecture's 2021-2022 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Visiting Professor and Scholar. In 2020, Biggers was awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2019, he was inducted into the New York Foundation for the Arts Hall of Fame. He was awarded the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in 2018 and the Rome Prize in Visual Arts in 2017. Biggers's work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; the Walker Center, Minneapolis, MN; the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington D.C.; the Dallas Museum of Art, TX; and the Legacy Museum, Montgomery, AL, among others. Biggers was raised in Los Angeles; he lives and works in New York, NY.