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 MOCA Plaza on July 29 and October 14. Autumn Casey’s “Cliff and April” and “To What Lengths” were selected following MOCA’s 2022 open call for artists for its “Art on the Plaza” series.

The successful open call received applications from more than 75 professional artists with the aim of promoting temporary installations in its public plaza and inspiring the community and museum visitors. The competitive review process and artist selections were overseen by a selection committee appointed by MOCA.

On view from July 29 to October 7, Casey’s “Cliff and April” is a sculptural installation featuring two swans, each fixed to their respective pedestals. The sculptures are illuminated from the inside by solar lamps. Existing as a pair to echo the natural practice of swans mating for life, “Cliff and April” creates a tender space for the contemplation of beauty, love, ideas of worship and family bonds. The installation includes a performance with a written prompt of questions to inspire conversation between the artist and the audience.

Autumn Casey

Casey taps into the ambiguity of personal memory and pop-cultural ephemera to fantasize and craft thoughts about the world. His practice ranges from sculpture to collage, via video and performance. She enjoys redeploying existing materials or moments in unexpected and idiosyncratic ways. Casey earned a BFA from New World School of the Arts, Miami, FL and an MFA from Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA. His 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, Pennsylvania; Practice Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; among others. His 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. She was born in West Palm Beach, Florida and currently lives and works in Miami, Florida.

Running October 14-January 20, 2023, VantaBlack’s “To What Lengths” will showcase a key element of his artistic practice as he reflects on the construction and preservation of legacy as the foundation of Black culture and other peoples of the world. diaspora. VantaBlack will explore how ideas about legacy are woven into everyday actions by activating five palm trees in MOCA Plaza with large-scale braids, adorned with beads, metalwork, sunflowers and artificial gardenias. The braids on each tree will follow styles representative of the women in VantaBlack’s family.

“Hair grooming through different braiding techniques has been passed down from the matriarchs of my family,” VantaBlack said. “It’s a way to share oral history, to bond across generations, a form of caregiving, among many other traditions. The positioning of one body between another creates a space of vulnerability. Precious memories are created and exchanged through this process which also helps to develop a skill for life.

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


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 artistic practice lies at the intersection of social justice and storytelling. Her work responds to pressing 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, Florida; 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 happy to support local artists by offering them the opportunity to present their work on the MOCA square. ‘Art on the Plaza’ provides an accessible burst of creative energy for 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 all and to 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 in MOCA Square 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 curating the program. The museum will host a series of programs that will coincide with 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 exhibited the public artwork, “Her Touch Smooths Rough Waters” by Miami-based artist Onajide Shabaka.

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

About the Museum of Contemporary Art of North Miami

MOCA North Miami showcases contemporary art and its historical influences through exhibits, 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 by nurturing an abiding love of the arts. MOCA grew from the Center for Contemporary Art which opened in 1981. The creation of the permanent collection coincided with the institution’s move to its current building designed by GSNY’s Charles Gwathmey in 1996.

Under the leadership of Executive Director Chana Sheldon and a newly installed Board of Directors, 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 the official collateral. Event of the Biennale Arte 2019 in Venice, Italy. Original exhibits include: My name is Maryan curated by Alison Gingeras (2021),

Michael Richards: Are you depressed? co-organized 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).


Art on the Plaza is presented by MOCA, with major support from the North Miami Community Redevelopment Agency (NMCRA) and is curated by Amanda Sanfilippo Long with commissions selected through an open call for South Florida artists.

MOCA North Miami is generously funded by the Mayor and Council of North Miami and the City of North Miami; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and Council of Cultural Affairs, Mayor and Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners; the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture and the Florida Arts and Culture Council (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 directors, the circle of curators and the members of MOCA for their significant support.

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