Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (MOCA) Announces Miami Art Week Programming
Jamea Richmond-Edwards’ “Ancient Future”, Juan Francisco Elso’s “Por América”, and Chris Friday’s “Narcissist”
North Miami, FL – October 5, 2023 – The Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (MOCA) is pleased to announce its Fall 2023 and Miami Art Week programming: Jamea Richmond-Edwards: Ancient Future, Juan Francisco Elso: Por América, and Chris Friday:Narcissist. The exhibitions, which open throughout the Fall, will also be celebrated during Miami Art Week with a public reception on Tuesday, December 5, followed by a curator-led walkthroughs on Saturday, December 9.
“We are thrilled to bring together these three remarkable artists during this season at MOCA,” said Chana Sheldon, MOCA Executive Director. “Their works further represent MOCA’s commitment to expanding the generational reach of globally relevant narratives as well as the history and movements that directly inspire today’s artistic dialogue.”
Opening October 25, Ancient Future will premiere as Richmond-Edwards’ largest solo exhibition to date. Spanning large-scale assemblages and immersive new installations, the exhibition will explore the realms ofAfro-futurism and mythologies through the lens of the rising artist’s bespoke visual idiom.
Curated by MOCA’s Adeze Wilford, the exhibition is a product of new thematic elements, assembling a selection of never-before-seen artworks in dialogue with the artist’s signature oeuvre. One of the show’s centerpieces includes a new monumental painting scaling up to 30 feet.
“Ancient Future presents an opportunity to explore the concept of radical imagination and the possibility of reconfiguring a future released from the confines of racial and gender binaries,” said Adeze Wilford, MOCA Curator. “When you think about significant art historical movements, especially Afrofuturism, it’s relevant to recognize the nuance of including Miami among this group. In developing this exhibition with Jamea, it was important that the show is a reflection of these complexities.”
Premiering with the exhibition, a newly commissioned film will document a former drum major from Jackson State University alongside Atlanta’s Dancing Dolls. The seven-minute film explores aesthetics of beauty and fashion across decades.
Born and raised in Detroit, Richmond-Edwards’ practice has long-been informed by the city’s folk arts scene, weaving materiality and everyday objects into the technical training of her fine arts degrees from Jackson State University and Howard University. In the last decade, her works have received national and international recognition at the Delaware Art Museum, California African American Museum, Charles H. Wright Museum, and most recently in her reimagining of The Color Purple through cover art for a new publication honoring the film’s 40th anniversary.
In her upcoming show, Richmond-Edwards employs current and historical cultural references to imagine a more hopeful future for communities that counters the often negative sentiments of today’s news cycle. Premiering during Miami Art Week, the exhibition will not only mark Richmond-Edwards’ first solo show at a major institution, but it will also launch the artist into the global art world.
“This show is an expansion of my maturing as an artist as I consider space, both liminal and physical, and how my works can occupy it,” said Richmond-Edwards. “Staging my work at an institution like MOCA also feels especially significant and timely because of what that space and this opportunity has allowed for my practice. This exhibition is a reminder that I still have the capacity to dream and exist as an artist, just as we as a society have the capacity to grow and imagine.”
Alongside Richmond-Edwards’ exhibition, JuanFrancisco Elso: Por América opens November 1, 2023 with a captivating retrospective of the late Cuban artist’s career. Part of the first generation of artists born and educated in post-revolutionary Cuba, Elso was a pioneer in Cuban art who created sculptures using natural materials. The artist gained international recognition in the mid-1980’s before dying of leukemia at the age of 32.
The exhibition gathers nearly the entirety of the late artist’s works in the largest survey of his career to date. As visitors experience these works in dialogue with that of generations of Cuban, Caribbean, and American artists, they will also witness the evolution of his practice, from his experimentation with new materials to incorporating spirituality, ritual, and decolonial ideals. A visceral representation of the artists’ journey throughout his short career, Por América spotlights Elso’s experimental process as a focal point.
“What has made Por América so special for me is seeing how Elso's poignant and personal art continues to resonate, even forty years later, across a vast range of audiences,” says co-curator Olga Viso. “Whether presented inNew York, Phoenix, or Miami, where there are strikingly different cultural histories of migration and colonial legacies, the timeless, humanist concerns of Elso's art strike a powerful and memorable chord. Anyone who has had any kind of exile experience or experience of migration will appreciate the narratives that Elso's art unfolds."
Por América is co-organized by guest curator Olga Viso and Susanna V. Temkin, curator at El Museo del Barrio, the show’s organizing institution. At MOCA, the exhibition gathers more than 70 works by over 30 artists, including Glenn Ligon, Tania Bruguera, Belkis Ayón, with new commissions by Tiona Nekkia McClodden and Reynier Leyva Novo. Assembling these works in a group presentation, the exhibition investigates contemporary Cuban, Caribbean, and Latin American identities shaped by Indigenous traditions, Afro-Caribbean beliefs, and the impact of colonial oppression. This is illustrated throughout the show as Elso’s works are used as pillars, or centerpieces, to which generations of artists, students, and Elso’s peers respond. The result being a conversation between past and present, where ideas introduced by Elso are reflected back some 40 years later through a contemporary lens.
“We are excited to share this show in Miami where the political and spiritual dialogues between Elso’s works and that of the artists represented feel particularly resonant with the city’s diasporic communities.” said Susanna V. Temkin, curator at El Museo del Barrio.
Previously exhibited at El Museo del Barrio in New York and the Phoenix Art Museum in Arizona, Por América is the first traveling survey of Elso’s work in the United States since the early 1990s, presenting a rare opportunity for MOCA’s audiences to experience these pieces.
Together with Ancient Future, both exhibitions represent the lasting influence and significance of a collective history through art. Juan Francisco Elso: Por América explores the many ways in which past and present experiences engage in dialogue with one another, while Jamea Richmond-Edwards’ Ancient Future demonstrates the forward-thinking perspective of the next generation of artists.
Accompanying the two shows, two full-colored catalogues will be published, championing the important scholarship related to both exhibitions with new texts and essays by curators and scholars.
Jamea Richmond-Edwards: Ancient Future is published by MOCA and features essays by Taylor Aldridge, Niama Safia Sandy and Adeze Wilford. Juan Francisco Elso: Essays on América, the first comprehensive bilingual study dedicated to the artist, is co-published by El Museo delBarrio and Miami-based Publications, featuring texts by Jimmie Durham; Coco Fusco; Fernando Gómez; Orlando Hernández; Graciela Iturbide; Erica Moiah James; Magali Lara; Corina Matamoros; Cuauhtémoc Medina; Gean Moreno; Javier Téllez; Olga Viso; and Rachel Weiss.
Also on view will be Chris Friday’s Narcissist, a large-scale, free-standing metal figure, which will be open to the public on MOCAPlaza from November 29, 2023 to February 18, 2024. Ignoring the gaze of the museum goer and casual onlooker, the work imagines Black art and the Black figure that is concerned with itself; revealing nothing of its interiority while admiring its own inherent beauty in a public contemporary art space. Incorporating a chalk and blackboard aesthetic, an allusion to educational and learning settings, Friday’s practice employs a critique of popular culture and mass media for the recurring messages it presents regarding Black bodies. The multidisciplinary artist’s large-scale sculpture will activate MOCA’s fountain and offer visitors an indelible opportunity to contemplate and take part in these ideas.
This season at MOCA engages the narratives of both emerging and globally-renowned artists while introducing culturally relevant dialogues to the South Florida community. Reinforcing MOCA’s mission, these shows further amplify the institution as internationally fluent, yet locally rooted.
Miami Art Week Programming and Schedule
MOCA will celebrate their fall exhibitions with a Miami Art Week reception on Tuesday, Dec. 5 to include a private VIP reception (invitation-only) from 6–8 p.m., and open to the public from 8–10 p.m. The museum will also hold an Artist and Curator-led Exhibition Tour on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 11 a.m. The museum will also offer extended hours throughout the week. In MOCA’s continued efforts to include diverse voices and perspectives, the exhibitions will be accompanied by a robust series of educational and public programming.
The museum’s extended hours for Miami Art Week:
● Sunday, Dec. 3 – Monday, Dec. 4: 10 a.m.–5p.m.
● Tuesday, Dec. 5: 10 a.m.–5 p.m. (Open Hours), 6 – 8p.m. (VIP Reception by invitation), 8 –10 p.m. (Public Reception)
● Wednesday, Dec. 6: 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
● Thursday Dec. 7-Friday, Dec. 8: 10 a.m.–5p.m.
● Saturday Dec. 9: 11 a.m. (Artist and Curator-Led Exhibition Tour)
About the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami
MOCA North Miami presents contemporary art and its historical influences through exhibitions, educational programs, and collections.Inspired by its surrounding communities, MOCA connects diverse audiences and cultures by providing a welcoming place to encounter new ideas and voices and nurturing a lifelong love of the arts. MOCA developed from the Center of Contemporary Art which was inaugurated in1981. The establishment of the permanent collection coincided with the institution’s move into their current building designed by Charles Gwathmey of GSNY in 1996. Under the direction of Executive Director Chana Sheldon and a newly installed Board of
Trustees, MOCA showcased My Name is Maryan curated by Alison Gingeras during Miami Art Week in 2021, which traveled to the Tel AvivMuseum of Art in late 2022. An accompanying exhibition catalog highlighting key works will be published, along with other archival imagery and critical essays. The museum also premiered AFRICOBRA: Messages to the People during Art Basel Miami Beach in 2018. AFRICOBRA: Nation Time, the next chapter of the exhibition, was selected as an official Collateral Event of Biennale Arte 2019 in Venice, Italy. Other original exhibitions include: Didier William: Nou Kite Tout Sa Dèyè curated by Erica Moiah James, Ph.D (2022), Michael Richards: Are You Down? co-curated by Alex Fialho and Melissa Levin (2021), Raul de Nieves: Eternal Return and The Obsidian Heart curated by Risa Puleo (2020), and Alice Rahon: Poetic Invocations curated by Teresa Arcq (2019).
Jamea Richmond-Edwards: Ancient Future is made possible with major support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Kravets Wehby Gallery. Additional support provided by MOCA Visionaries.
Juan Francisco Elso: Por América is organized by El Museo del Barrio and guest curated by Olga Viso, Selig Family Chief Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs at Phoenix Art Museum and Senior Advisor for Global Partnerships inthe Arts at Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, in collaboration with Susanna V. Temkin, curator at El Museo del Barrio. The exhibition is made possible thanks to major support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Commissions are made possible by VIA Art Fund and the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation. Its presentation at Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami is made possible with major support from Shirley and William M. Lehman, Jr. Additional support was provided by Craig Robins and Jackie Soffer, the Funding Arts Network, NV2A Group, and the Wege Foundation. We also thank The Jorge M. Perez Family Foundation for their generous support.
MOCA North Miami is generously funded by the North Miami Mayor and Council and the City of North Miami; the John S. and James L. KnightFoundation; and the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and theCultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners. MOCA is sponsored in part by the State of Florida through the Division of Arts and Culture and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by the Fine & Greenwald Foundation and the Sol Taplin Charitable Foundation. Founding support for the MOCASustainability Fund provided by the Green Family Foundation Trust. We also thank our Board ofTrustees, Curator’s Circle, and MOCA Members for their meaningful support.
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