Michael Richards - MOCA Miami


Michael Richards in his Studio, Miami Beach, 1998, Courtesy of Carolyn Swiszcz
From April 21, 2021 until October 10, 2021
The Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami (MOCA) hosts the exhibition “Michael Richards: Are You Down?” ― the first museum retrospective of the work of Michael Richards. The Afro-Caribbean artist’s sculptural and drawing practice reflects on issues of racial inequity, anti-blackness, and diasporic identity.
 
Richards used the language of metaphor to investigate racial inequity and the tension between assimilation and exclusion in his art. Aviation, flight and escape were central themes, gesturing toward both repression and reprieve from social injustices, and the simultaneous possibilities of uplift and downfall, often in the context of the historical and ongoing oppression of Black people. Richards’ artistic engagement with race, masculinity, diaspora, police brutality, spirituality and art history feel especially current, urgent and pressing. Though the work was certainly of its time in the 1990s, it speaks poetically and provocatively to this contemporary moment.

Co-curated by Alex Fialho and Melissa Levin, “Michael Richards: Are You Down?” marks the largest exhibition of Richards’ work to date and will be on view from April 21 through Oct. 10, 2021. Richards passed away in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks while working in his Lower Manhattan Cultural Council World Views studio, located on the 92nd floor of World Trade Center Tower One. The exhibition will be on view from April 21 through Oct. 10, 2021, commemorating the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
Are You Down?, 2000 Installed at Franconia Sculpture Park Courtesy of the Michael Richards Estate. Materials & Dims: Fiberglass, Bronze Bonded, Resin, Concrete & Black Beauty Sand
Are You Down?, 2000 Installed at Franconia Sculpture Park Courtesy of the Michael Richards Estate. Materials & Dims: Fiberglass, Bronze Bonded, Resin, Concrete & Black Beauty Sand
Are You Down?, 2000 Installed at Franconia Sculpture Park Courtesy of the Michael Richards Estate. Materials & Dims: Fiberglass, Bronze Bonded, Resin, Concrete & Black Beauty Sand
Are You Down?, 2000 Installed at Franconia Sculpture Park Courtesy of the Michael Richards Estate. Materials & Dims: Fiberglass, Bronze Bonded, Resin, Concrete & Black Beauty Sand
Tar Baby vs. St. Sebastian, 1999 Installed at Stanford Art Gallery, Photograph by Henrik Kam. Courtesy of the Michael Richards Estate
A Loss of Faith Brings Vertigo, 1994 Installed at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Photograph by Etienne Frossard Courtesy of the Michael Richards Estate
Swing Lo', 1996. Installed at The Studio Museum in Harlem Courtesy of the Michael Richards Estate