Sam Durant (born 1961, in Seattle) is a multimedia artist whose works engage a variety of social, political, and cultural issues. Often referencing American history, his work explores the varying relationships between culture and politics, engaging subjects as diverse as the civil rights movement, southern rock music, and modernism. His work of the 90s was inspired largely by the work of Robert Smithson, an artist well known for his interest in history and entropy. Durant's work has been widely exhibited internationally and in the United States. He has had solo museum exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf, S.M.A.K., Ghent, Belgium, and the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Zealand. His work has been included in the Panamá, Sydney, Venice, and Whitney Biennials. Durant shows with several galleries including Blum & Poe in Los Angeles, Paula Cooper Gallery in New York, Praz-Delavallade in Paris and Sadie Coles HQ in London. His work has been extensively written about including seven monographic catalogs and books.
In 2005, his exhibition "Proposal for White and Indian Dead Monument Transpositions, Washington D.C." was shown at the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York. This work derived out of a residency he was conducting at the Walker Art Center in 2002. He reproduced 30 Indian massacre monuments that are based on similarities to the massive obelisk Washington monument. In 2006, he compiled and edited a comprehensive monograph of Black Panther artist Emory Douglas’ work. His recent curatorial credits include Eat the Market at the Los Angeles County Museum 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-organized numerous group shows and artists benefits and is a co-founder of Transforma, a cultural rebuilding collective project in New Orleans. In addition, he was a finalist for the 2008 Hugo Boss Prize and has received a United States Artists Broad 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 in Perth, Tate Modern in London, Project Row Houses in Houston, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Durant teaches art at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California.
Durant received a BFA in sculpture in 1986 from the Massachusetts College of Art and an MFA from California Institute of the Arts.