Skip Navigation

[Untitled] (Free F'All)

Michael Richards

Contemporary Art

On View:

In his short life, the artist Michael Richards often created work related to the struggles and triumphs of African Americans. He spent nearly ten years, for example, on a series of sculptures dedicated to the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of black aviators—named for their base in Tuskegee, Alabama—who during World War II became the first African American military pilots in the history of the United States. For this particular sculpture, as with others in the series, Richards made a fiberglass mold of his own body and then pierced the work with nails (other sculptures in the series are impaled by toy airplanes). The sculpture thus refers both to Christian iconography (St. Sebastian, depicted with a body full of arrows) and to African objects known as nkisi nkondi.

In a tragic and eerie twist of fate, Michael Richards was working as an artist-In-residence with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council at its studios in the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001, and died in the attack on Tower 1. He did not live to witness the surviving Tuskegee Airmen receive the highest civilian award bestowed by Congress, the Congressional Gold Medal, on March 29, 2007.

MEDIUM Fiberglass and resin with iron oxide
DATES 1997
DIMENSIONS 72 x 24 x 19 in. (182.9 x 61 x 48.3 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Contemporary Art
CREDIT LINE Anonymous gift in honor of Michael Richards
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Michael Richards (American, 1963–2001). [Untitled] (Free F'All), 1997. Fiberglass and resin with iron oxide, 72 x 24 x 19 in. (182.9 x 61 x 48.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Anonymous gift in honor of Michael Richards, 2007.20. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2007.20_three_quarter_left_PS2.jpg)
IMAGE 2007.20_three_quarter_left_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
RIGHTS STATEMENT © Estate of Michael Richards
The Brooklyn Museum holds a non-exclusive license to reproduce images of this work of art from the rights holder named here. The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act. For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact If you wish to contact the rights holder for this work, please email and we will assist if we can.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.