The Spence Collection
How art can change your life.

Sandow Birk


Sandow Birk "..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 Raised on the beaches of Southern California and currently living and working in Los Angeles, Sandow Birk is a product of California culture. Well traveled and a graduate of the Otis/Parson's Art Institute, his work has dealt with Los Angeles in it's entirety. With an emphasis on social issues, frequent themes of his past work have included daily life in L.A.'s barrios, inner city violence, graffiti, various political issues, surfing, and skateboarding. His work has been shown extensively throughout the U.S. He was a recipient of an NEA International Travel Grant to Mexico City in 1995, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1996, and a Fulbright Fellow to Rio de Janeiro for 1997. In 1999 he was awarded a Getty Fellowship for painting. He is also a City of Los Angeles (COLA) Fellowship recipient for 2001. Sandow is represented by the Koplin Gallery in Los Angeles, Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco, and the Debs and Co. Gallery in New York City. Sandow's epic, pseudo-historical series of the "The Great War of the Californias", in which Los Angeles and San Francisco wage all out war for control of the Golden State, was featured at the Laguna Art Museum in 2000 and traveled to the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art in the San Francisco Bay Area in the summer of 2002. He has collaborated to make ?In Smog and Thunder?, a 45 minute video ?mockumentary? about the war which was featured at the Slamdance Film Festival in 2003, among many others. His series of idyllic landscape paintings of prisons was exhibited at the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum in 2001 and in New York in 2002. Last Gasp Publications has published two books on his work, ?In Smog and Thunder? and ?Incarcerated: Visions of California in the 21st Century?. His latest project, a rewriting and illustrating of Dante?s ?Divine Comedy? set in contemporary urban America, will exhibited at the San Jose Museum of Art in 2005. Chronicle Books will be publishing a trade version of the project in 2004.;;

Artworks in the Spence Collection

After the Battle of the Rose Bowl
Created 1998 Created 1998
Beer Vendor
Created 1995 Created 1995
Football Player
Created 1995 Created 1995
Hollywood Revenge
Created 1990 Created 1990
North Swell (Washington Crossing the Delaware)
Created 19904 Created 19904
Reinforcements Arriving Too Late
Created 1998 Created 1998
The Tagger and The Sphinx (Homage to Chaka)
Created 1991 1/ Created 1991 1/
Dante's Inferno
Created 2003 Created 2003