Urban Art

Michael Vasquez

United States 1983

Street Art


Michael Vasquez
Michael Vasquez
United States
October 5, 2014
Jean is researcher and author for Widewalls. jean.gallard@widewalls.ch

Michael Vasquez is a Florida native artist best known for his vivid paintings that represent the histories, streetwise social codes and mythic nature of a neighborhood street gang.

He was born in 1983 in St. Petersburg, Florida and in 2001 he moved to Miami to attend New World School of the Arts, where he graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2005. Upon graduating, Vasquez began showing with Fredric Snitzer Gallery in Miami, Florida – where he mounted his first solo exhibition, “Family Jewels”  in 2007.

Drawn from his personal experience as an only child of a single parent mother, Vasquez explored the allure of a neighborhood street gang through the perspective of a boy growing up without a father figure. Throughout his work, Vasquez presents the gang as an extended family, accompanied by its own set of values that seemed to communicate and instill a level of masculinity and toughness beyond a mother’s capability. Exploring the duality within these values and accompanying feelings, Vasquez presented mirroring aspects of pride and shame, affiliation and separation, respect and disrespect…

The works of artist Michael Vasquez present the viewer with snapshots of urban life from a safe distance. Beneath layers of thick impasto, Vasquez’s expressive brushwork and pools of saturated crimson ebb and flow with the rhythms of hip-hop music, naturalistically rendered and rough around the edges. Vasquez presents his gangster types in viscous paint, personifications of masculine identity and dominance boasting chains that drip with diamonds and flickers of gold teeth.

The exhibition that marked an exciting expansion in Vasquez’s artistic approach was Rites of Passage, in 2012. In an effort to more directly integrate his photographs—a retrospective of his career as an artist—Vasquez revisited, resized, and reassembled his images to fashion aggressive, large-scale, relief photo sculptures that narrated a neighborhood street gang’s convergence.

Michael Vasquez’s work has also been included in numerous institutional and museum exhibitions such as his aforementioned solo shows in Chattanooga, North Miami, Florida, Arizona, Washington… His work was also shown internationally for the first time in 2010, when it was included in “Franks – Suss Collection” at the Saatchi Gallery in London, England.

He lives and works in Miami, Florida.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2015swing/SPACE/miami (TBA)The Freedom Tower, Miami, FLSolo
2015Portraiture Now : Staging the SelfNational Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Washington, D.C Group
2014Portraiture Now : Staging the SelfNational Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Washington, D.C Group
2014Little Haiti Country ClubLittle Haiti Country Club, Miami, FLGroup
2014This Crazy LifeNew Image Art, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2013The Human TouchScottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale, AZGroup
2012Rites of PassageFredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami, FLSolo
2012Things Beyond Our ControlFredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami, FLGroup
2011Vanishing Points: Paint and Paintings from the Debra and Dennis Scholl CollectionBass Museum  of Art, Miami Beach, FLGroup
2011Summer BluesFredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami, FLGroup
2011Merzbau-NowFredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami , FLGroup
2011Florida Contemporary 2011Naples Museum of Art, Naples, FLGroup
2010What Comes With the TerritoryThe University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, TNSolo
2010Primary Flight29th Street and NW 2nd Avenue, Miami, FLGroup
2010Boy, Oh BoyFredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami, FLGroup
2010New Work Miami 2010Miami Art Museum, Miami , FLGroup
2010Franks – Suss CollectionSaatchi Gallery, London, EnglandGroup
2009How The Land LiesFredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami, FLSolo
2009Time + TempArt and Culture Center of Hollywood, Hollywood, FLGroup
2009Franks - Suss Collection (Selected Works)Suss Collection, London, EnglandGroup
2009CFC Charity Art ExhibitionFredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami, FLGroup
2009SMALLFredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami, FLGroup
2008GEN-X: Post Boomers and the New SouthMobile Museum of Art, Mobile, ALGroup
2008Pivot Points Part 2: New MythologiesThe Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, FLGroup
2007Michael Vasquez: Authority FiguresKemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MOSolo
2007Family JewelsFredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami, FLSolo
2007Circular Reasoning (curated by Dennis Scholl)Unit B Gallery, San Antonio, TXGroup
2006Partial RecallLehmann Maupin Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2006Metro PicturesThe Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, FLGroup
2005O, The Games We PlayFredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami, FLGroup
2005Classified (BFA Exhibition)New World School of the Arts, Miami, FLGroup
2005Co OperateBas Fisher Invitational, Miami, FLGroup
2004Social Clash Gorilla Tactiks Solo ShowThe Smith Building, Miami, FLSolo
2004The Last ShowThe House, Miami, FLGroup
2004I am the resurrection Project RoomLocust Projects Miami, FLGroup
2003Side Slide Gorilla Tactiks and the TM SistersThe Wynard Space, Miami, FLGroup
2003Le Arte Avant GarteW-10 Space Florida International University, Miami, FLGroup