David Schirm is professor and head of the painting program at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he has taught in varying capacities since 1985. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He started school “in a two-room schoolhouse with a bell on top above Coal Hollow where one man, a mule and a cart made a living in a backyard coal mine[i]”. He received his BFA in painting from the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in 1967, and his MFA in painting from Indiana University, Bloomington in 1972. He is a U.S. Army veteran, having served in Vietnam from 1967-1969. His work was included in the exhibition Directions at the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington DC in 1979, and in the Carnegie International at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh in 1982. He was also included in the traveling exhibitions Vietnam, A Different War, curated by Lucy Lippard, and As Seen Through Different Eyes, an exhibition of work by American and Vietnamese artists, which traveled to both countries. His work has also been shown in numerous solo and group exhibition across the United States and internationally.
Schirm was the recipient of two Fulbright Fellowships in 1994 and 2004. In 1995 he traveled to Sri Lanka, where, shortly after his arrival, a suicide bomber at the central bank in the city of Colombo killed at least 50 people, and injured more than 1,000. While there he also assisted the Institute of Aesthetics in Sri Lanka in developing a fine arts graduate degree program. In 2004 he returned to Sri Lanka and India with his wife and two children. Schirm was also the recipient of two fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, as well as a number of other rewards. He has lectured at various colleges and universities throughout his career. Schirm’s work is included in the collections of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Burchfield Penney Art Center, the Carnegie Museum of Art and the National Museum of Art in Hanoi, Vietnam.