About

Willie Birch was born in New Orleans in 1942. He received a B.A. from Southern University in New Orleans in 1969 and a M.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore in 1973. After residing in New York for many years and traveling to Africa, he returned to New Orleans in the mid ‘90s to reside in the 7th Ward. Birch was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1984 and again in 1989. In 1993, he was the recipient of a John Guggenheim Fellowship in sculpture. In 2002, Birch received the Mayor's Arts Award in New Orleans and in 2014, he was named a USA James Baldwin Fellow. His work is found in museum collections as well as public and private collections across the country, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the New Orleans Museum of Art; and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia.


Exhibition

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2015 Seen and Unseen: Coupling, Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2013 Southern Gothic: An Insider’s View, Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2010 Looking Back: 1978-2003, Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2010 In Search of Sacred Place, Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, LA
2007 Home Sweet Home, Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2006-08 Celebrating Freedom: The Art of Willie Birch, National traveling retrospective (Catalogue)
2005 Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2003 Arthur Roger Gallery on Tchoupitoulas, 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
2001-02 Willie Birch: 1994-1997, Zora Neal Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts, Eatonville, FL
2001 Black Male, Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2000 Free to Be in Black and White and Color, Luise Ross Gallery, New York, NY
1999 Witnessing New Orleans, Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA
1998-99 Transforming Identities, The McKinney Avenue Contemporary Museum, Dallas, TX (traveling exhibit)
1998 Spirit House and Recent Work, Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Wilmington, DE
1997 Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA
Luise Ross Gallery, New York, NY
Dialogues and Heroes, Museum of African American Art, Tampa, FL
1996 From Bertrandville to Brooklyn, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC (traveled to Spoleto Festival, U.S.A., Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, SC)
Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA
Not Just a Pretty Picture: Urban American Portraits, Satori Fine Art, Chicago, IL
1996 Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA
In Search of Heroes? Part I, Luise Ross Gallery, New York, NY
1994 Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA
1994 An Urban Perspective, Gallery Joe, Philadelphia, PA
Dialogues, Luise Ross Gallery, New York, NY
1993 Spirit House, Sculpture Center, New York, NY (traveled to Contemporary Culture and Documentary Art, Dallas, TX and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, NY)
Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA
Paa Ya Paa Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya
Nairobi Series," York College Art Gallery, New York, NY
1992 Wake Up Call, Arthur Roger Gallery, New York, NY
A Personal View of Urban America, Exit Art, New York, NY (traveled to Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum, Philadelphia, PA)
1991 Affirmations, Sculpture Center, New York, NY
College of St. Rose, Albany, NY
NYNEX, White Plains, NY
Sculpture Center, New York, NY
1990 Gallery 1199, New York, NY
Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, PA
1989-95 An Urban Perspective, Gallery Joe, Philadelphia, PA
1989 Tompkins Square Gallery, New York Public Library, 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 New York State Office Building in Harlem Gallery, New York, NY (sponsored by Studio Museum)
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

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2015-16 Common Ground: African American Art from the Flint Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, and the Muskegon Museum of Art (traveling exhibition)
2015 Ten Years Gone, New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA
2014 Viewpoints: 20 Years of Adderley, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, MA
2013 Ashe to Amen - African Americans and Biblical Imagery, Museum of Biblical Art, New York, NY
2012 Thenceforth and Forever Free, Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI
2010 Southern Journeys: African American Artists of the South, touring exhibition, 2009-12
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 U.S. Biennial, New Orleans, LA
In Katrina’s Wake, Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, Austin, Texas
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
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
2004 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 (traveling exhibition)
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
Sextablos: Works on Metals, Barrister’s Gallery, New Orleans, LA (traveling exhibition)
Silver Select, Abrons Arts Center 25th Anniversary Artist/Curator’s Invitational, Henry Street Settlement, Abrams Arts Center, New York, NY
Culture of Class: Issues of Class in North American Culture, Maryland Institute, College of Art, Baltimore, MD
1999-2000 Outward Bound: American Art at the Brink of the Twenty-First Century, Meridian International Center, Washington, D.C.; cultural exchange project travelling to Vietnam, China, Singapore and Indonesia
1999-2000 Passages: Contemporary Art in Transition, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY (travelling exhibition)
1999-2000 Upsouth, University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL (traveling exhibition)
1999 Baton Rouge Gallery, Baton Rouge, LA
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 (travelling to Tucson Museum
of Art, Tucson, AZ; Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi, TX; Western Gallery,
Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA; Memorial Art Gallery, University of
Rochester, Rochester, NY)
1996-97 Tragic Wake: The Legacy of Slavery and The African Diaspora in Contemporary
American Art, Spirit Square Center for Arts and Education, Charlotte, NC
1995 Extensions: Large Scale Drawings, Luise Ross Gallery, New York, NY
48th Annual Purchase Exhibition, American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, NY
1995 Jazz Y San, Pratt Manhattan Gallery and Pratt Institute, New York, NY
Semaphore: Placing the Mark, Bill Bace Gallery, New York, NY
1994 The Art of Watercolor, Luise Ross Gallery, New York, NY
Art en Route: MTA Arts for Transit, Paine Webber, New York, NY
Engaged Vision, Terry Ditenfass Gallery, New York, NY
Sea Change, Josh Baer Gallery, New York, NY
Collectors’ Show, Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, AR
Art on Paper, Weatherspoon Art Gallery, Grenensboro, NC
Collectors’ Choice, Center for the Arts, Vero Beach, FL
1993 Figurines!, Luise Ross Gallery, New York, NY
Word!, Jamaica Arts Center, Jamaica, NY
1992 Altars, Divinations and Icons, Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia, PA, curated by A. Weaver
Bob Blackburn's Printmaking Workshop: Artists of Color, Hillwood Art Gallery, Brookville, NY, curated by Noah Jemison
Green Acres: Neo Colonialism in the United States, Washington University Gallery of Art, St. Louis, MO
Voices from Mantua, Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia, PA
Home Place, Henry Street Settlement, New York, NY, curated by Mark O'Brien
Remerica/America: 1492-1992, Hunter College Art Gallery, New York, NY, curated by Juan Sanchez
The Lower Manhattan Sign Project, The Repohistory Group, New York, NY
The Fourth R - Art, Euphrat Gallery, DeAnza College, Cuportino, CA, curated by Jan Rindfleisch and Patricia Albers
You Must Remember This, Jersey City Museum, Jersey City, NY, curated by Emma Amos
1991 Origins, Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, curated by Don Desmett
The Rage of Children, Miami-Dade Community College, Miami, FL
Images of Labor, Gallery 1199, New York, NY, curated by Anton van Dalen
Wild, Wild World of Art, The Lakeside Group, Chicago, IL
Repository, Brecht Auditorium, New York, NY
Re-Imaging America - A Voice of Dissent Project, Momenta Art, Philadelphia, PA
1990 Continuing Traditions: Contemporary African America Craft Artists, National Black Arts Festival, Atlanta, GA
Mayday: M'aidez! The Tallahassee Gallery, Tallahassee, FL
Dream Machinations in America, organized by Brian Goldfard and Steven Schiff, Minor Injury, Brooklyn, NY
1989 A Tribute to the Brooklyn Community, Boricua College, Brooklyn, NY
Creative Concern, Brooklyn, NY
The Spirit Within, Henry Street Settlement, New York, NY, curated by Kathleen Spicer
Art Against Apartheid 1989, Goddard Riverside Community Center, NY
Present Conditions, Aljira - A Center for Contemporary Art, Newark, NJ
Loaded, Blue Star Art Space, San Antonio, TX, curated by Glenna Park
Artist in Residence Then and Now, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Pepsico
Progressive Propaganda, Gallery 1199, New York, NY
Words and Images, The Miami-Dade Public Library System, Miami, FL
On the Sacred in Art: Receptacles of Spirit, The Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Whose Wars? Vietnam and Central America, Bronx River Art Center
The Ninth Annual Atlanta Life Afro-American National Art Competition and Exhibition, Atlanta, GA
The Blues Aesthetic, curated by Richard Powell, Traveling Exhibition, 1989-91
Three Storytellers, Creative Concerns Gallery, Brooklyn NY, 1989-90
If You Lived Here - Homefront, Dia Art Foundation, New York, NY, curated by Martha Rosler
1988 Other Visions, Articules, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Affinities: Idioms/Aesthetics/Intents, Jamaica Art Center, Jamaica, NY
Artists Speak to the Issues: Election 1988, Bronx River Art Center, Bronx, NY
Words, 35th Art Festival of Atlanta, curated by Jo Anne Pascholl, Atlanta, GA
Unity: A Collaborative Process, Goddard Riverside Community Center, New York, NY
Brandywine Workshop, Arts in Commerce Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Artists for Jackson, Food Stamp Gallery, New York, NY
Bratton Gallery, New York, NY
Prevailing Spirit, Bronx Council on the Arts, Longwood Art Gallery, Bronx, NY
1987-88 Metafour Men, Tompkins Square Gallery, New York Public Library, curated by Christina Jones, New York, NY
Miami Sculpture Exhibition and Competition: Models, Metropolitan Museum and Art Center,
Coral Gables, FL
USA Paintworks: Prints from the Brandywine Workshop Collection, United States Information Agency/Arts America (traveling exhibition)
Rooms with a View, Bronx Council on the Arts, Longwood Arts Gallery, curated by Fred Wilson, Bronx, NY
1987 Tio Amerikanare - Nagra Med Blagula Rander, Borstahusens Konsteorening, Landskrona Konsthall Sommarutstallning
Concrete Crisis - Urban Images of the 80's, Exit Art, New York, NY
Lost Facts - The Rediscovery of Black History, Minor Injury, Brooklyn, NY
Por Encima Del Bloqueo, (Donacion De Artistas Plasticos North Americanos Al Pueblo De Cuba) Centro Wilfredo Lam, Havana, Cuba
Herter Art Gallery, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
1986 Obsessions, Hera Gallery, Wakefield, RI
Black Artists Living in the Mid-Atlantic States, Neighborhood Art Center, Atlanta, GA
Liberty: A Different Perspective, Gallery 69, Bronx, NY
Black Artists Living in the Mid Atlantic States, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA
Camino A Cuba, Museum Universitario do Chopo, Mexico City, Mexico
Contemporary Print Images: Works by Afro-American Artists from the Brandywine Workshop, Presented by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITE)
Mural Making Art for the Community, Goddard Riverside Community Center, New York, NY
1985 The Struggle Continues/La Lucha Continua Mural Project, New York, NY
Carnival Ritual of Reversal, Kenkeleba Gallery, New York
Art Against Apartheid, Pennsylvania State University, Philadelphia, PA
The 12th World Festival of Youth and Students, Moscow, Russia
Minority Art Educators, The Interchurch Center, New York
State of the Mind/State of the Union, Judson Church, NY
Artists Against Apartheid, Bronx Museum of the Arts, Hostos Community Gallery, Bronx, NY
Racist America, curated by Robert Costa, Dramatis Personae Gallery, New York, NY
A Place Apart, Brooklyn, NY
Call and Response: Art on Central America, curated by Lucy Lippard, Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, ME
Atlanta Life Insurance Company Fourth Annual Afro-American Art Competition and Exhibition, Atlanta, GA
1984-85 Art in Print/A Tribute to Robert Blackburn, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, NY
1984 Art Against Apartheid, Henry Street Settlement, New York
Affirmation of Life: The Opposite of a Nuclear Nightmare, curated by Al Loving, Kenkeleba House Gallery, NY
1983 Randall Gallery, New York, NY
Crysal Britton Gallery, Atlanta, GA
People of Color, William Paterson College, Paterson, NJ
Transfers: Uptown/Downtown, El Grupo Morivivi, New York
1982 Ancient Inspirations/Contemporary Interpretations, Travelling Exhibition presented by Roberson Center, Binghamton, NY, 1982-84
Ritual and Rhythm: Visual Forces for Survival, Kenkeleba House Gallery, New York, NY
1982 Langston Gallery, New York, NY
Beyond Aesthetics: Art of Necessity by Artists of Conscience, Travelling Exhibition sponsored by Henry Street Settlement, New York, NY
Art from Henry Street, City Gallery, Department of Cultural Affairs of New York, NY
Vice and Virtue, Kenkeleba House Gallery, New York, NY
1981 Atlanta Life Insurance Company Second Annual National Art Exhibition and Competition, Atlanta, GA
1980 Environmental Art Projects Series, Morris Museum of Arts and Science, Morristown, NY
Atlanta Life Insurance Company Annual National Art Exhibition and Competition, Atlanta, GA
Art for Public Places, Lever House, New York, NY
Art Across the Park/Central Park North, New York, NY
Outlaw Aesthetics, Just Above Midtown/Downtown, New York
Dialectics: Diverse Bookworks by Black and Hispanic Artists, Franklin Furnace Archive, New York, NY
1978 Art for Public Spaces: Proposals/Solutions, Pratt Institute Gallery, Brooklyn, NY "Drawing: New Definitions," Roosevelt Art Gallery, Roosevelt Island, NY
1979 Electorgraphic Art, Florida International University, Miami, FL
Arte Fiera, Bologna, Italy
Pocket Art, Just Above Midtown Gallery, New York, NY
Microcosm, Macrocosm, Tim Blackburn Gallery, New York, NY
1977 Cinque Gallery, New York, NY
Baltimore Black Arts Calendar Retrospect, Baltimore, MD
1976 Afro-Caribbean Exhibition, Wilmington, DE
Anderson J. Pigatt Gallery, New York, NY
Salute to Black Artists '76, Reston, VA
1975-76 American Painters in Paris Exhibition, Paris, France, 1975-76
1975 Black Art, Towson State College, Towson, MD
Five Maryland Artists, Traveling Exhibition presented by the Baltimore Museum of Art, MD
1973 Smith-Mason Gallery, Washington, DC