The Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (MOCA) Announces Two Upcoming Installations for Its “Art on the Plaza” Series

The Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (MOCA) is pleased to announce two new site-specific installations coming to the MOCA plaza on July 29 and Oct. 14. Autumn Casey’s “Cliff and April” and Chire “VantaBlack” Regans’ “To What Lengths” were selected following MOCA’s 2022 open call to artists for its “Art on the Plaza” series.

The successful open call received applications from over 75 professional artists in an effort to promote temporary installations on its public plaza and inspire the community and museum visitors. The competitive review process and artist selections were overseen by a MOCA-appointed selection committee.

On view from July 29 through Oct. 7, Casey’s “Cliff and April” is a sculptural installation featuring two swans, each secured on their respective plinths. The sculptures are illuminated from within via solar-powered lights. Existing as a pair to echo the natural practice of swans who mate for life, “Cliff and April” creates a tender space for the contemplation of beauty, love, ideas of worship and familial bonds. Included with the installation is a performance with a written prompt of questions to inspire conversation between the artist and the audience.

Autumn Casey

Casey draws on the ambiguity of personal memory and pop-cultural ephemera, to fantasize and elaborate on reflections of the world. Her practice moves from sculpture to collage, as well as video and performance. She enjoys redeploying existing materials or moments in unexpected, idiosyncratic ways. Casey received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the New World School of the Arts, Miami, FL and a master’s degree from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA. Her work has also been included in group exhibitions at The Pérez Art Museum Miami, FL; The Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, FL; Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA; Practice Gallery, Philadelphia, PA; among others. Her work is collected by The Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, The Pérez Art Museum Miami and in private collections in Miami and New York City. She was born in West Palm Beach, FL, and currently lives and works in Miami, FL.

On view from Oct. 14 through Jan. 20, 2023, VantaBlack’s “To What Lengths,” will showcase a key component to her artistic practice by reflecting on legacy building and preservation as foundational to Black culture and other diasporic peoples. VantaBlack will explore how ideas about legacy are woven into everyday actions by activating five palm trees on the MOCA Plaza with large-scale braids, adorned with beads, metal, and artificial sunflowers and gardenias. The braids of each tree will follow stylings representative of the women in VantaBlack’s family.

“Hair grooming through different braiding techniques has been passed down through the matriarchs of my family,” said VantaBlack. “It is a vehicle for sharing oral history, bond building between generations, a form of caregiving, amongst many other traditions. The positioning of one body between another creates a space of vulnerability. Valuable memories are created and exchanged through this process which also helps develop a lifelong skill.”

At the base of each tree will be a round mat with cushions for seating, inviting viewers to engage with the work while looking up. “My goal is for anyone who interacts with this work to embrace feelings of comfort, relaxation, and vulnerability,” she continued.

VantaBlack

VantaBlack was born in Saint Louis, Missouri, and currently works in Miami, Florida. VantaBlack received a bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University in 2005. VantaBlack’s art practice exists at the intersection of social justice and storytelling. Her work responds to urgent societal concerns and functions as a critical platform to amplify the voices of the communities she engages with. VantaBlack works with acrylic, charcoal, and textiles. Selected solo exhibitions include “A Reflection of the Times” (2021), Bakehouse Art Complex, Wynwood, FL, and “I Felt Your Gaze Upon Me, I Knew You Were Watching” (2021), Hollywood Art & Culture Center, Hollywood, FL. Selected group exhibitions include “On the Frontline” (2021), Mount Sinai Hospital, Miami Beach, FL; “Familiar Distances” (2021), Edgezones Art Gallery, Wynwood, FL; and “Where There is Power” (2021), Miami Beach, FL. VantaBlack received the Home & Away Residency at Anderson Ranch (2021), the Inaugural Ellies Social Justice Award (2020), and the Racial Equity Initiative Award (2021).

“We are pleased to support local artists by offering them the opportunity to showcase their work on MOCA’s plaza. ‘Art on the Plaza’ offers a boost of creative energy accessible to visitors and passers-by,” said Chana Sheldon, executive director of MOCA. “Autumn and VantaBlack align with the museum’s mission to make contemporary art accessible to everyone and connect diverse audiences and cultures by providing a welcoming place to encounter new ideas and voices.”

The museum inaugurated “Art on the Plaza,” a series of temporary public art installations on MOCA’s plaza in 2021, to invite artists to activate the space and connect the museum to the community. Amanda Sanfilippo Long, who currently serves as Curator and Artist Manager for the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, Art in Public Places program, is organizing the program. The museum will host a series of programming to coincide with the art installations throughout the year.

The 2021 series featured South Florida artists Reginald O’Neal, Morel Doucet and Stephen Arboite, Najja Moon, Nice n’ Easy, and Studio AMLgMATD. To kick off the 2022 season, the museum displayed the public artwork, “Her Touch Smooths Rough Waters” by Miami-based artist Onajide Shabaka.

Completed in October 2018, the MOCA Plaza renovation was made possible due to a grant from the North Miami Community Redevelopment Agency (NMCRA) to cover construction costs of nearly 33,000-sq.-ft. of brick pavers, new landscaping, new LED lights and necessary equipment. MOCA’s “Art on the Plaza” program is made possible with major support from the NMCRA.

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 in 1981. 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 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. Original exhibits include: My Name is Maryan curated by Alison Gingeras (2021),

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).

Support:

Art on the Plaza is presented by MOCA, with Major Support from the North Miami Community Redevelopment Agency (NMCRA) and is organized by Amanda Sanfilippo Long with commissions being selected through an Open Call to artists in South Florida.

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. Knight Foundation; the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture (Section 286.25, Florida Statutes); the National Endowment for the Arts; The Nathan Cummings Foundation; the Sol Taplin Charitable Foundation; and The Cowles Charitable Trust. We also thank our Board of Trustees, Curator’s Circle, and MOCA Members for their meaningful support.

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