2019 MICHAEL RICHARDS AWARD RECIPIENT KAREN RIFAS
Hang in There
The Bass, Miami Beach’s contemporary art museum, is pleased to celebrate and showcase new work by the second recipient of Oolite Arts’ Michael Richards Award, Karen Rifas (2019). As part of The Ellies, Miami’s Visual Art Awards presented by Oolite, Rifas was gifted an honorarium and a commission to be displayed at The Bass. The project by Rifas is now on view as part of the Art Outside exhibition, and surrounds Collins Park.
Hang in There (2020) is an outdoor installation by Karen Rifas, commissioned by the museum. Rifas explores the concept of geometry in her vibrant floor and sculptural installations to convey a concise language that alters our perception of space. With Hang in There, Rifas employs densely hued shapes and irregular lines on 32 banners surrounding Collins Park, playing with the malleability of perception in creating serialized spaces that oscillate between the two and three dimensional. This project is currently installed and will be included in the forthcoming exhibition, Art Outside, an iterative presentation of public artwork in Collins Park and throughout Miami Beach. For more information on Art Outside and Rifas’ work, please visit the project’s website: ArtOutsideMB.org
Karen Rifas (b. 1942, Chicago) has shown nationally and internationally since the 1980s. Her work is represented in public and private collections, including Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico, The Bass Museum of Art, Fairchild Tropical Gardens, Oolite Arts, NSU Art Museum, Fort Lauderdale, Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Miami-Dade Art in Public Places Trust, and Perez Art Museum Miami.
Solo exhibitions include: The Bass Museum of Art (2018), Emerson Dorsch (2017), Meetinghouse Gallery (2016), MDC Museum of Art + Design (2015), De La Cruz Collection (2010), Pinnacle Gallery, Savannah College of Art and Design (2007), Polk Museum of Art (2004), Art Center South Florida (now Oolite Arts) (1997) and Museo De Arte Comtemporaneo, Panama City (1993). She has exhibited in numerous group shows and presented the following projects: Notices in Mutable Terrain, curated by Adler Guerrier, Fundación Atchugarry (2019); Selections from Karen Rifas Papers: Defining Space, Women Artist Archive (2019); Transphysics: istwa, landscapes and paisajes, curated by William Cordova, Art and Culture Center, Hollywood (2017), 100+ Degrees in the Shade: A Survey of South Florida Art, curated by Jane Hart (2015), MIA-BER, Berlin Arts Club (2014), Following the Line, Girls’ Club Collection (2012), I Triennial, Santo Domingo (2010), globe>miami<island, curated by Robert Chambers, DC Museum of Contemporary Art (2002) and The Bass (2001). She taught at New World School of the Arts for many years as well Kendall Campus of Miami Dade College and University of Miami. She lives and works in Miami and her work is represented by Emerson Dorsch Gallery.
The Michael Richards Award is given each year to a Miami-Dade artist who has created a recognized body of original, high-quality works of art over a sustained period of time and who, through their practice, is achieving the highest levels of professional distinction in the visual arts. The award will support the selected artist’s practice and creative growth through a stipend of $75,000 over a two-year period, and the opportunity to be commissioned by Oolite Arts in collaboration with The Bass, to create a work to be exhibited at the museum. Michael Richards (1963–2001), to whom this award pays tribute, was an incisive, provocative, and poetic artist whose body of work primarily addresses racial inequity and social injustice. Richards, an Oolite Arts alum, passed away tragically in his art studio in the World Trade Center during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. A jury of national and local curators and experts will both nominate candidates and select the award winner.
Oolite Arts is both a community and a resource, providing artists with free studio space, exhibition opportunities, direct support and programming they need to advance their careers. The organization also offers programming to the surrounding neighborhood and the wider community to help artists better understand, and create, contemporary art.