"All Black Everything" at Museum of Graffiti in Miami Showcases Black Graffiti Artists | Miami New Times


"All Black Everything" Showcases Generations of African-American Graffiti Artists

Museum of Graffiti's exhibition "All Black Everything" celebrates graffiti while paying proper homage to some of those who initiated it first.
Daze's If I’m Not Getting Through to You, You Ain’t Listening is on view at the Museum of Graffiti as part of "All Black Everything," an exhibition on African-American graffiti artists.
Daze's If I’m Not Getting Through to You, You Ain’t Listening is on view at the Museum of Graffiti as part of "All Black Everything," an exhibition on African-American graffiti artists. Photo courtesy of the artist
Share this:
Sometimes you just run out of luck.

It wasn't the first time that graffiti artist and pioneer Richard "Bama" Admiral had been accused of spray-painting trains, but it was the third time that did it.

"The first two times I was arrested, I was completely innocent," Admiral says.

At the time, his parents were in Las Vegas on their second honeymoon, and his father, in particular, wasn't in the mood for any shenanigans.

"So [Dad] just said, 'Wait 'til I get back,' because he was not going to give up his vacation," says Admiral, who hails from the "Boogie Down" Bronx. "I had to sit there for a week till they came back because there was nobody to get me out. That taught me a great deal. And I was guilty," he admits. "I couldn't get around that. I was completely guilty."

Despite this, Admiral's arrest didn't end his career; it just took a slightly different turn. From then on, he decided to embrace a different tactic that significantly reduced his chances of getting caught. "I became a soloist," he adds.

His father, of course, still wasn't enamored with his artistic pursuits. And if you ask East New York-born and raised graffiti artist Doc TC5, he can relate. His mother wasn't much of a fan either.

"It was like an embarrassment to her that I was a vandal," TC5 says. "She never saw that it could go somewhere."
click to enlarge
Veefer, Road & Track, 2023, ink and watercolor on paper
Photo courtesy of the artist
But eventually, it did.

Ironically, the sought-after artist says his mom inspired the name for which he is now known.

"Before graffiti, I was into music," explains TC5. "I was into DJing very early in my life. It just became a thing where, you know, my mother just associated anything with me as being music related. One day, she asked me, 'What are you gonna be when you get older?' And I said, 'Well, I'd like to work with something in the medical field.' She said, 'What do you want to be, a disco doctor?' And it stuck."

It's clear to both casual observers and graffiti fans that both artists have paid their dues. Whether it was getting arrested, dealing with detainment, or getting ostracized from society and family members, it was all for the love of art, specifically their love of graffiti. The price they paid may have been well worth it because now their legendary pieces are regarded as part of the bedrock of this street-based art movement.

Their contributions are part of the Museum of Graffiti's "All Black Everything: a Survey of African-American Graffiti" exhibition on view in Wynwood through Monday, September 4. Also included are some of the most historically influential multigenerational artists, including Blade, Delta2, Dondi White, Ewok, Kool Koor, Noc167, Skeme, Web One, and Wane One. Original graffiti paintings on canvas and works on paper spanning the past four decades.

Alan Ket, curator of the exhibition and cofounder of the museum, says it is important to highlight their contributions, particularly for those new to the art form.
click to enlarge
Augustine Kofie, FIRST, 2023.
Photo courtesy of the artist
One of the museum's primary missions is to "preserve graffiti's history and celebrate its emergence in design, fashion, advertising, and galleries," he says. "All Black Everything" is just one more way of celebrating graffiti while paying proper homage to some who initiated it first, according to Ket.

"These are real people that have contributed for decades and deserve to be recognized and not necessarily overshadowed by whoever is popular or is trendy at the moment, or the Instagram favorites of the past few years," Ket says. "It seems like only people from my generation and older know this. Everybody else doesn't have the awareness of the Black contribution to graffiti and how significant and important it is."

Ket says it is vital that it is known that there are, and were, important African-American artists that should be celebrated and acknowledged. As a graffiti artist, Ket wants to share what he has learned and experienced. He hopes that this history will ultimately shine through the exhibition.

"It isn't just what's happening today, but this is 50 years of history and 50 years of this shared experience. And I want them to know the names. I want them to learn about these artists."

He says that the exhibition, with its long run through summer, will offer plenty of time for people to visit the Museum of Graffiti "to come in here, experience it, and learn."

– Sergy Odiduro, ArtburstMiami.com

"All Black Everything: a Survey of African-American Graffiti." On view through September 4, at Museum of Graffiti, 276 NW 26th St., Miami; 786-580-4678 or museumofgraffiti.com. Tickets cost $12 to $16; admission is free for children 13 and under. Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m, and Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
KEEP NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls. Make a one-time donation today for as little as $1.