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Michael Richards: Are You Down? Exhibition At MOCA NoMi

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of taking a trip with my BFF and business partner to see the Michael Richards: Are You Down? exhibition at MOCA NoMi (Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami). We made it our business (literally) to schedule creative inspiration dates where we take a step away from the MacBooks and explore museums, gain insight from other artists, and just allow ourselves to be creatively inspired without the pressure of having to actually create. I must say, it was nothing short of amazing! I was thoroughly inspired and wanted to share my experience here on the blog for those of you who may want to know more about the exhibit. If you're on the fence about visiting MOCA to see it, I hope that this post encourages you to go! If you're in the Miami area on vacation, it would be a great addition to exploring on of the city's gems as well. And if you're not in the area and won't make the exhibit (it will be here until October 10th, 2021) then you can enjoy it through my lens.

Michael Richards was a well known artist of Jamaican and Costa Rican descent that enhanced his artistic outlook. He used the history of his lineage and roots to shape the creation and voice of his art. Through his sculptures and drawings, he posed the question, Does the glass ceiling which excludes also reflect the desire to belong? Sounds like a journal prompt to me! It really opened my mind and made me think of my place in this world and what I have to offer. Am I setting limits on myself? My creativity? Am I thinking outside of the box? Am I acknowledging my roots and my inner self in the process?

In his Artist Statement, Michael shares that he primarily wishes to give voice to the psychic spaces in which exist both hope and frustration, faith and failure, and the compromises which must be negotiated in order to survive. The main question, Are You Down? showcases the first museum retrospective of Michael Richards' artwork, exhibiting both his extensive sculpture and drawing practice. Richards used the language of metaphor to investigate racial inequality and the tension between assimilation and exclusion in his art. Call it controversial. Call it triggering. I call it bar-raising and exceptional. I added my own gallery below with some of my favorite moments that really spoke to me.

Images by Amerika B. Photography

At the end of the exhibition, there was a section where you can sit down and write about your favorite moments and takeaways. Here is what I took away:

Travel Kit really spoke to me. Most of the time we are labeled by how we look. Michel took the time to express himself and inspire those that may not fit into a specific box. I learned that you can create what feels good and what you want to in order to shape the world. "Black Enough for You?" sits with me and lives rent free in my mind. I didn't expect the exhibit and Michael's work to give me a feeling of freedom. I now feel free to create without limitations.

This exhibition at MOCA NoMi was very eye-opening and inspiring to say the least. If you plan on checking it out, please let me know your thoughts. I'd love to hear about your experience. I know it will be life changing and unforgettable. Art expression is a great way to open up a new outlet to explore more insight into your creative world!


Unknown member
Nov 08, 2021

Isn't it wonderful to visit museums for that boost of inspiration? I love it. I usually make it my goal to visit our local museums during my Winter and Summer breaks. Your coverage of this exhibit was amazing. Makes me want to hop on I-95 and visit Miami. Seeing work from other artists always reminds me that we all have a voice listening to.


Jul 29, 2021

Whoa, what a riveting exhibit and equally intriguing review. The idea to give viewers an opportunity to reflect on the piece was genius. Your pics made me feel like I was there in person. Great read!

Amerika B.
Amerika B.
Jul 29, 2021
Replying to

Thank you so much! That is exactly what I had in mind when I wrote it. I enjoyed it so much that I wish everyone could experience it. I’m thinking about going back!

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