Wood block print showing war

(Above Image: Destruction from The Depravities of War, 2007; woodcut print (ink on paper), 48 x 96 inches; courtesy of the artist and Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco, California)

Sandow Birk: Depravities & Monuments

SDSU Downtown Gallery Event

November 17, 2016 – January 29, 2017
Thursday through Monday 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Depravities & Monuments features a selection of artworks from two incisive series by Los Angeles artist Sandow Birk. The Depravities of War, comprising a narrative suite of monumental woodcut prints, proffers a stinging critique of the Iraq war and its aftermath. Birk harks back to Jacques Callot’s The Miseries and Misfortunes of War (1633), a series of etchings that delivered biting commentary on Europe’s Thirty Years’ War and inspired Francisco Goya’s damning print series The Disasters of War (1810–1820), which expressed horror at the bloody conflicts between Spain and the French Empire. As did his predecessors, Birk depicts the events of his own time to condemn the gruesome practices and devastating consequences of armed combat. Imaginary Monuments, consisting of outsize drawings and etchings, proposes public memorials to laws, treaties and declarations devised to structure the conduct of global society. At once deadpan and tongue-in-cheek, the works illustrate Birk’s fantastical plans for monuments to wide-ranging topics, such as human rights, criminal justice, U.S.-involved military engagements, international football, the Internet, the world’s oceans and outer space. Together, the Depravities and Monuments series cogently address conditions and concerns of contemporary life.

Sandow Birk: Depravities & Monuments is curated by Professor Tina Yapelli and organized by the SDSU Downtown Gallery. The exhibition and events are sponsored by the School of Art + Design, the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, and Arts Alive SDSU. Additional support is provided by the San Diego State University Art Council. Sandow Birk is represented by Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco, and Koplin Del Rio Gallery, Seattle.


    • Thursday, November 17: Opening Reception, 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
    • Friday, December 2:Exhibition Tour with Sandow Birk, noon at the SDSU Downtown Gallery
    • Friday, December 2: Lecture by Sandow Birk, 6:00 p.m., San Diego State University, Storm Hall West, Room 011
        Visitor parking in Lot 12. Parking is $2/hour. Pay at kiosk on the 8th floor.

SDSU Campus Map

  • Thursday, December 15 and January 19: Downtown at Sundown, 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., an after-hours offering activating the Core-Columbia neighborhood with a host of perks to pique your interest on the third Thursday of every month.

One America Plaza

One America Plaza

Parking at the SDSU Downtown Gallery

One America Plaza at 600 W. Broadway (ABM parking garage)
$5 flat rate when you enter after 5:00 pm and exit before Midnight.

*Garage main entrance closes at 7:00 p.m. After 7:00 p.m., enter through the lobby on W. Broadway to parking garage elevators.

SDSU Downtown Gallery Information

*Exhibitions and events at the SDSU Downtown Gallery are free and open to the public.

SDSU Downtown Gallery
725 W. Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101

For more information, contact Chantel Paul, Downtown Gallery Program Coordinator at cpaul@mail.sdsu.edu.