Tar Baby vs. St. Sebastian

Michael Richards, Tar Baby vs. St. Sebastian (1999). All photos by the author for Hyperallergic
The Michael Richards exhibition on Governors Island, curated by Alex Fialho and Melissa Levin, proves what an astonishing loss it was when the artist was killed on 9/11. Richards had spent the night in his World Views studio as part of his Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) residency; when a hijacked plane crashed into the 92nd floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower, it killed him. Rumors quickly swirled that he had foreshadowed his own death with the sculpture “Tar Baby vs. St. Sebastian” (1999), for which he had used his own body as a model. Photos of the work showed a fleet of mini airplanes piercing a Tuskegee Airman’s body, the jets uncannily similar to the one that destroyed Richards’s own body in the disaster.
Read More: The Prescient Work of an Artist Killed on 9/11