Sam Durant actively engages with social, political and cultural events in history as part of his practice, with a particular emphasis on American history. Areas of focus include the Civil Rights Movement, the conflict between settlers and Native Americans, and international trade relationships. Durant often works with globes and maps as a means of presenting alternate histories/geographies.
At STPI, he created Proposal for a Map of the World (2015), a map of rearranged countries using a combination of screen printing, etching and collage. Referencing the 1955 Asian-African Conference in Bandung, Indonesia, the countries were placed according to their positions on the United Nations Human Development Index. This alternate geography allows for a fresh vision of history and its details, both those recorded and those lost to time.
In 2006, Durant compiled and edited a comprehensive monograph of Black Panther artist Emory Douglas’ work. His curatorial credits include Eat the Market at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Black Panther: the Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and the New Museum in New York. He has co-organised numerous group shows and artists benefits and is a co-founder of Transforma, a cultural rebuilding collective project that began in New Orleans. He was a finalist for the 2008 Hugo Boss Prize and has received a United States Artists Board Fellowship and a City of Los Angeles Individual Artist Grant. His work can be found in many public collections including The Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth; Tate Modern, London; Project Row Houses; Houston, and MoMA, New York. Durant teaches art at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California.