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Thomas Welton Stanford Art Gallery
419 Lasuen Mall, Stanford, California 94305
The Department of Art & Art History presents Michael Richards: Winged, a solo exhibition of sculpture and drawing dedicated to the late artist Michael Richards (1963–2001). The exhibition, curated by Alex Fialho and Melissa Levin, is on view at the Stanford Art Gallery from January 22 through March 24, 2019.
Join us for the opening reception on Thursday, January 24, 5–7 pm.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, Michael Richards was working in his studio on the 92nd floor of World Trade Center, Tower One, when the first plane struck, taking his life along with thousands of others. At the time of his passing, Richards was an emerging artist whose incisive aesthetic—provocative, playful, and with a critical bent—held immense promise to make him a leading figure in contemporary art.
Richards used the language of metaphor to investigate racial inequity and the tension between assimilation and exclusion. Aviation, flight, and escape were central themes of Richards’s artwork, gesturing towards 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. Significant points of reference for Richards included the Tuskegee Airmen, and figures and stories from African and Judeo-Christian traditions. Centering his own experience, Richards used his body to cast the figures for his sculptures, who often appear as pilots, saints, or both.
In light of his harrowing passing on 9/11, Richards's work evokes a charged afterlife and prescient significance. In tandem, his words and the socio‐political context of his lifetime create multiple readings and metaphoric possibilities.
Learn more about Michael Richards here: voca.network/blog/2016/06/01/michael-richards-winged
Find the event posting here: events.stanford.edu/events/803/80334
Co-sponsored by Office of the President, Office of the Vice President for the Arts, Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, the Denning Family, V. Joy Simmons, MD, Institute for Diversity in the Arts, and Stanford Live.
Image: Michael Richards, Winged, 1999. Bonded bronze and metal.
VISITOR INFORMATION: The Stanford Art Gallery is located on the Stanford campus at 419 Lasuen Mall, off Palm Drive. Visitor parking is free all day on the weekend and after 4 pm on weekdays, except by the Oval.