Edgar Heap of Birds has studied at the University of Kansas, Lawrence (BFA, 1976), undertaken graduate studies at the Royal College of Art, London (1977) and attended the Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia (MFA, 1979). He was named USA Ford Fellow in 2012 and Distinguished Alumni, University of Kansas, in 2014. Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts and Letters degrees have been awarded by the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston (2008), Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Vancouver, Canada (2017), and California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, (2018). In 2020, Heap of Birds was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as a member of the Humanities & Arts class, with a specialty in Visual Arts.
Heap of Birds has exhibited his works at The Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations Reservation, Oklahoma; The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia; Documenta, Kassal, Germany; Orchard Gallery, Derry, Northern Ireland; University Art Museum, Berkeley, California; Association for Visual Arts Museum, Cape Town, South Africa; SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico; Hong Kong Art Center, China; Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia; Grand Palais, Paris, France; Nanyang Technological University Art Gallery, Singapore; and the Venice Biennale, Italy.