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BIOGRAPHY

Willie Birch was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1942. He has received a BA from Southern University and an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. His work has been exhibited at the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, LA; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MA; Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ; Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC; Speed Museum, Lexington, KY; Hilliard Art Museum, Lafayette, LA; Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, Cleveland, OH; Museum of African American Art, Tampa, FL; and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale, AZ among others. Birch’s work is included in the public collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA; and the Speed Museum, Louisville, KY among others. 

EDUCATION

1973
M.F.A., Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore

1969
B.A., Southern University, New Orleans, LA

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2021
Kayne Griffin Gallery Los Angeles, CA

2015
Seen and Unseen: Coupling, Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA
Spirit House: Willie Birch, Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Wilmington, DE

2013
Southern Gothic: An Insider’s View, Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA 
Crossroads, Bard College for Curatorial Studies (thesis show by Robin Wallis Atkinson)

2010
Looking Back: 1978-2003, Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA
In Search of Sacred Place, Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, LA

2008
Celebrating Freedom: The Art of Willie Birch, Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, LA

2007
Home Sweet Home, Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA
Celebrating Freedom: The Art of Willie Birch, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale, AZ and 40 Acres Art Gallery, Sacramento, CA

2006
Celebrating Freedom: The Art of Willie Birch, Acadiana Center for the Arts, Lafayette, LA and Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD

2005
Everywhere I Look I Hear Music, Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA

2003
Earlier Works, Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA

2002
Somebody’s Child, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, Adams, MA 
Transforming Identities, University Art Museum, Joel L. Fletcher Hall, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, LA

2001-02
Willie Birch: 1994-1997, Zora Neal Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts, Eatonville, FL

2001
Black Male Portraits, Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA

2000
Free to Be in Black and White and Color, Luise Ross Gallery, New York, NY 1999

1998-99
Transforming Identities, The McKinney Avenue Contemporary Museum, Dallas,TX

1998
Spirit House and Recent Work by Willie Birch, Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Wilmington, DE

1997
Dialogues and Heroes, Museum of African American Art, Tampa, FL
In Search of Heroes? Part II?, Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA

1996
Willie Birch: From Bertrandville to Brooklyn, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC; 1996 Spoleto Festival, Charleston, SC; Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, SC
Willie Birch, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA
Not Just a Pretty Picture: Urban American Portraits, Satori Fine Art, Chicago, IL 
In Search of Heroes? Part I, Luise Ross Gallery, New York, NY
My Holocaust, Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA

1995
Willie Birch, Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA

1994
An Urban Perspective, Gallery Joe, Philadelphia, PA 
Dialogues, Luise Ross Gallery, New York, NY

1993-94
Willie Birch: Spirit House, Sculpture Center, New York, NY; Contemporary Culture and Documentary Art, Dallas, TX; Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, NY

1993
Willie Birch, Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA
Sculpture, Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA
Willie Birch, Paa Ya Paa Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya
Nairobi Series, York College Art Gallery, New York, NY

1992
A Personal View of Urban America, Exit Art, New York, NY and Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum, Philadelphia, PA

1991
Affirmations, Sculpture Center, New York, NY

1990
Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, PA

1989
Tompkins Square Gallery, New York Public Library, New York, NY

1988
Amelie A. Wallace Gallery, SUNY College, Old Westbury, NY

1984
Miami-Dade Library, Miami, FL

1979
Tim Blackburn Gallery, New York, NY

1978
NYS Office Building in Harlem Gallery (sponsored by Studio Museum), New York, NY

1977
New Muse Community Museum of Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY
Kornblatt Gallery, Baltimore, MD

1975
Art Works Gallery, Baltimore, MD

1971
Equitable Trust Bank, Baltimore, MD
Institute of Black Ministry, Philadelphia, PA

1968
Southern University, New Orleans, LA

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2021-22
Yesterday We Said Tomorrow Prospect 5 New Orleans, LA

2018
Changing Course: Reflecting on New Orleans Histories, New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), New Orleans, LA

2017-18
Dress Matters: Clothing As Metaphor, Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ

2017
Pride of Place: The Making of Contemporary Art in New Orleans, New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), New Orleans, LA
The Human Touch: Contemporary Art from the RBC Wealth Management Collection, Elmhurst Art Museum, Elmhurst IL

2016-17
Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC and Speed Museum, Lexington, KY
Face to Face: A Survey of Contemporary Portraiture by Louisiana Artists, Hilliard Art Museum, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, LA

2016
According to What, The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY
A New World in My View: Gifts from Gordon W. Bailey, The Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY
The Human Touch: Contemporary Art from the RBC Wealth Management Collection, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT

2015-16
Common Ground: African American Art from the Flint Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo, MI and the Muskegon Museum of Art, Muskegon MI
The Human Touch: Contemporary Art from the RBC Wealth Management Collection, Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN

2015
Ashé to Amen: African Americans and Biblical Imagery, Ashé Cultural Arts Center, New Orleans, LA
The Human Touch: Contemporary Art from the RBC Wealth Management Collection, Memorial Art Gallery, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
Ten Years Gone, New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), New Orleans, LA

2014
The Human Touch: Contemporary Art from the RBC Wealth Management Collection, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Eugene, OR
Viewpoints: 20 years of Adderley, MassArt, Boston, MA

2013-14
Ashé to Amen: African Americans and Biblical Imagery, Museum of Biblical Art, New York, NY; Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, Baltomore, MD; Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, TN

2013
Breaking Ground: Gifts form Katie and Drew Gibson, San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA
The Human Touch: Contemporary Art from the RBC Wealth Management Collection, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale, AZ

2012
The Human Touch: Contemporary Art from the RBC Wealth Management Collection, RedLine Gallery, Denver, CO and Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
Thenceforward, and Forever Free, Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI

2011
The Human Touch: Contemporary Art from the RBC Wealth Management Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Saint Petersburg, FL
Printed Histories: 16 Years of Print Portfolios at Exit Art, Exit Art, New York, NY

2010
The Global Africa Project, the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY
The Human Touch: Contemporary Art from the RBC Wealth Management Collection, Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV

2009
High Water Marks, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT
There Goes the Neighborhood, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OH
The American Scene, Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Wilmington, DE

2008
Prospect.1 New Orleans Biennial, New Orleans, LA
In Katrina’s Wake, Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, Austin, TX

2007
Katrina: Catastrophe and Catharsis, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, CO

2006-07
Legacies: Contemporary Artists Reflect on Slavery, New York Historical Society, New York, NY

2005
The Chemistry of Color, African-American Artists in Philadelphia 1970-1990, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
The Other Mainstream: Selections from the Mikki and Stanley Weithorn Collection, Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, AZ

2004
Rap: Reflections of Our Time, Barrister’s Gallery, New Orleans, LA 
Southern Journeys, Alexandria Museum of Art, Alexandria, LA

2002-04
In the Spirit of Martin: The Living Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.; Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit, MI; Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach, FL; Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN; International Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN; Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, AL

2003
Modern Story Tellers: Bearden, Birch, Lovell, Ringgold, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY

2000
Go Figure, Lew Allen Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM
The Rutgers SummerFest 2000 Exhibition, New Brunswick, NJ 
Culture of Class: Issues of Class in North American Culture, Maryland Institute, College of Art, Baltimore, MD

1999-00
Outward Bound: American Art at the Brink of the Twenty-First Century, Meridian International Center, Washington, D.C.; The Museum of Fine Arts, Hanoi, Vietnam; The Painting Institute, Shanghai, China; The Working People’s Cultural Palace, Beijing, China; The CIPTA Gallery, Jakarta Arts Center, Jakarta, Indonesia; Meridian International Center, The Metropolitan Museum, Manila, Philippines and The Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
Passages: Contemporary Art in Transition, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL; Miami Art Museum, Miami, FL

1998
New Orleans Triennial, New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA 
The Colors of Rhythm, The Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, LA

1996-98
Rediscovering the Landscape of the Americas, Santa Fe, NM and Western Gallery, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA

1995
48th Annual Purchase Exhibition, American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, NY

1992
Altars, Divinations and Icons, Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia, PA,

1989
The Blues Aesthetic: Black Culture and Modernism, Washington Project for the Arts, Washington, D.C.

1989-90
If You Lived Here..., Dia Art Foundation, New York, NY

1987-88
USA Paintworks: Prints from the Brandywine Workshop Collection, United States Information Agency/Arts America

1986-87
Por Encima Del Bloqueo: Donación De Artistas Plásticos Norteamericanos Al Pueblo De Cuba, Centro Wilfredo Lam, Havana, Cuba and, Museum Universitario do Chopo, Mexico City, Mexico

1986
Contemporary Print Images: Works by Afro-American Artists from the Brandywine Workshop, presented by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITE)

1984
Call and Response: Art on Central America, Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, ME

1980
Outlaw Aesthetics, Just Above Midtown/Downtown, New York

 

 

 

RESIDENCES, AWARDS, AND GRANTS

2021
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc., Community Partnership Grant, New Orleans, LA

2014
United States Artists Fellowship, James Baldwin Fellow

2013
National Conference of Artists (NCA) Lifetime Achievement Award Artist in Residence, RedLine Milwaukee, WI

2012
Sculpture Commission, Jimmy Club Sculpture Garden, St. Ann, LA

2011
Artist in Residence, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA), New Orleans, LA

2009
Artist in Residence, École supérieure des beaux-arts de Nantes, France

2008
The Benjamin Altman Prize, National Academy of Design

2006
The Pollock Krasner Foundation Award
Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant

2005
Cue Art Foundation Fellowship

2004
The Governor’s Award, State of Louisiana

2002-4
Artist in Residence, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, New Orleans, LA

2000
Artist in Residence, Tamarind Institute, Albuquerque, NM

1997
Commission, Spoffard Juvenile Detention Center, Brooklyn, NY

1996

Louisiana Division of the Arts Artist Fellowship NYC Metropolitan Transit Authority, Arts for Transit, 135th St/Lenox Ave, New York, NY
Commission, Philadelphia International Airport, Terminal A, Philadelphia, PA (murals)

1995
Municipal Collaborative Project for Downtown Winston-Salem, NC

1994
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, New York, NY

1993
John Guggenheim Fellowship (sculpture)

1989-90
National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artist Fellowship Grant
New York State Council on the Arts National Endowment for the Arts Visual Art Fellowship, New York, NY

1988
Commission, Public Art Fund, Inc., New York, NY

1987
New York Foundation for the Arts Artists Fellowship Award

1985-86
Brandywine Workshop Visiting Artist Fellowship, Philadelphia, PA

1984-85
National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artist Fellowship Grant

1983
Commission, Public Art Fund, Inc., New York, NY

1980-81
Artist in Residence, Henry Street Settlement, New York

1977-78
Artist in Residence, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY

1976
St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Baltimore, MD (Sculpture)

SELECTED PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, TN
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR
Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Wilmington, DE 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Miami-Dade Public Library, Miami, FL 
New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA
Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA 
Southern University, New Orleans, LA 
Speed Museum, Louisville, KY
Temple University, Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Tulane University Law School, New Orleans, LA
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Xavier University, New Orleans, LA

SELECTED PRINT COLLECTIONS

Bob Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, New York, NY
Tim Blackburn Gallery, New York, NY
Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia, PA
The Lower East Side Printshop, New York, NY
Tamarind Institute, Albuquerque, NM
The Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper, New Brunswick, NJ

BIBLIOGRAPHY

2020
Keith, Naima. "Prospect 5 New Orleans: Yesterday We Said Tomorrow," Electa.

2016 
"Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art," Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

2015 
"Seen and Unseen: Coupling," New Orleans, LA: Arthur Roger Gallery.
Harman, Shelby. "‘Ashe to Amen’ spirituality exhibit opens at Ashe Cultural Arts Center," The Times-Picayune, July 31.

2017
Sasse, Julie. "Dress Matters: Clothing As Metaphor," Tucson, AZ: Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block.
"Pride of Place: The Making of Contemporary Art in New Orleans," New Orleans, LA: New Orleans Museum of Art.

2013
King-Hammond, Leslie, ed. "Ashé to Amen: African Americans and Biblical Imagery," New York, NY: Museum of Biblical Art.

2010
Bookhardt, D. Eric. “Willie Birch and Paul Ninas,” Gambit Weekly, July 11.
Friedley, Renae. “Keeping it Real – The Art of Willie Birch,” Black Art in America, October 02.

2008
Calas, Terrington. “Birch at Home,” New Orleans Art Review, Fall/Winter. Sasser, Bill. “In His Element,” Oxford American, October.

2007
Sothern, Billy. “New Orleans’ African Retentions: Willie Birch with Billy Sothern,” The Brooklyn Rail, November.
Bookhardt, D. Eric. “Uncommon Folk,” Gambit Weekly, October 30.

2006-07
Volkmar, Karl F. “Aesthetic Ethnography,” New Orleans Art Review, December/January.

2006
Caesar, Petula. “All Roads Lead Home,” Baltimore City Paper, November 26.

2005 
"Celebrating Freedom: The Art of Willie Birch," Manchester, VT: Hudson Hills Press; New Orleans, LA: Contemporary Arts Center.
Sajet, Kim. "The Chemistry of Color, African American Artists in Philadelphia 1970- 1990," Philadelphia, PA: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Art.

2004-05
Volkmar, Karl F. “Transforming Identities,” New Orleans Art Review, November-January.

2004
Johnson, Eloise E. and Stella Pinkney-Jones. "Southern Journeys," Alexandria, LA: Alexandria Museum of Art.
Volkmar, Karl F. “Sitting In,” New Orleans Art Review, September-November.
MacCash, Doug. “Have Mercy,” The Times-Picayune, July 9.

2003
Bookhardt, D. Eric. “Inside Art,” Gambit Weekly, November 25.

2002
Miles, Gary. "In the Spirit of Martin: The Living Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.," Atlanta, GA: Tinwood Books.

2001 
"Willie Birch: 1994-1997," Eatonville, FL: Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts.

2000
Scott, Deirdre A. "Passages: Contemporary Art in Transition," New York, NY: The Studio Museum in Harlem.

1999
MacCash, Doug. “Birch’s New Messages More Subtle,” The Times-Picayune, November 19.
Matthews, Nacy. "Outward Bound: American Art at the Brink of the Twenty-First Century," Washington, D.C.: Meridian International Center.

1996 
"Rediscovering the Landscape of the Americas," Santa Fe, NM: Gerald Peters Gallery.

1995
Margolis, Nancy H., ed. "Willie Birch: From Bertrandville to Brooklyn," Winston-Salem, NC: Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art.

1989
Powell, Richard. "The Blues Aesthetic: Black Culture and Modernism," Washington, D.C.: Washington Project for the Arts.
Wallis, Brian, ed. "If You Lived Here: the city in art, theory and social activation: a project by Martha Rosler," New York, NY: Dia Art Foundation and Seattle, WA: Bay Press.

1986 
"Contemporary Print Images: Works by Afro-American Artists from the Brandywine Workshop," Washington, D.C.: SITES.
Lippard, Lucy. "Por Encima Del Bloqueo: Donación De Artistas Plásticos Norteamericanos Al Pueblo De Cuba," Havana, Cuba: Centro Wilfredo Lam.

1984
Lippard, Lucy. "Call and Response: Art on Central America," Waterville, ME: Colby College Museum of Art.

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