Hilton Als once called the essay “a form without a form”—a description equally applicable to his work as a staff writer and theater critic for The New Yorker, but also to his work as a curator. For this virtual studio visit, writer and editor Mary Wang will use clips from films foundational to Als’ practice to discuss the formal transgressions in his work and how such methods can help bring muddled presents into shape.*
A FORM WITHOUT A FORM—HILTON ALS IN CONVERSATION WITH MARY WANG*
Wednesday, September 23.
5 pm on the West Coast; 8 pm East Coast.
This event will be held via Zoom. To receive a link to attend, please RSVP email@example.com your name and the event you plan on attending.
Wolfgang Tillmans, Between Bridges, and several dozen international artists have joined together to sell posters to benefit art spaces, nightclubs, music venues, and bars at risk of closing for good because of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown.
Participating artists in the 2020 Solidarity project include Nicole Eisenman, Heji Shin, Carrie Mae Weems, Gillian Wearing, Betty Tompkins, Marlene Dumas, Christopher Wool, Jacolby Satterwhite, Isa Genzken, Rachel Harrison, Thomas Ruff, Elizabeth Peyton, Thao Nguyen Phan, Mark Leckey, Ralf Marsault, Heino Muller, Andreas Gursky, Spyros Rennt, Anne Imhof, Ebecho Muslimova, Piotr Nathan, Ming Wong, David Lindert, Heike-Karin Föll, Luc Tuymans, Stefan Fähler, Sabelo Mlangeni, Simon Denny, Melanie Bonajo, Karol Radziszewski, Karl Holmqvist, Özgür Kar, Claire Nicole Egan, Bobby Glew, Stewart Uoo, Felipe Baeza, Jochen Lempert, Seth Price, Tomma Abts, Wade Guyton, Peter Berlin, and David Wojnarowicz with Tom Warren.
Noah Davis (1983–2015) was a figurative painter and cofounder of theUnderground Museum (UM) in Los Angeles. Despite his untimely death at the age of thirty-two, Davis’ paintings are a crucial part of the rise of figurative and representational painting in the first two decades of the twenty-first century.
Loneliness and tenderness suffuse his rigorously composed paintings, as do traces of his abiding interest in artists such as Marlene Dumas, Kerry James Marshall, Fairfield Porter, [MarkRothko], and Luc Tuymans.Davis’ pictures can be slightly deceptive; they are modest in scale yet emotionally ambitious. Using a notably dry paint application and a moody palette of blues, purples, and greens, his work falls into two loose categories: There are scenes from everyday life, such as a portrait of his young son, a soldier returning from war, or a housing project designed by famed modernist architect Paul Williams. And there are paintings that traffic in magical realism, surreal images that depict the world both seen and unseen, where the presence of ancestors, ghosts, and fantasy are everywhere apparent.
Generous, curious, and energetic, Davis founded—along with his wife, the sculptor Karon Davis—the Underground Museum, an artist- and family-run space for art and culture in Los Angeles. The UM began modestly—Noah and Karon worked to join three storefronts in the city’s Arlington Heights neighborhood. Davis’ dream was to exhibit “museum-quality” art in a working-class black and Latino neighborhood. In the early days of the UM, Davis was unable to secure museum loans, so he organized exhibitions of his work alongside that of his friends and family, and word of mouth spread about Davis’ unique curatorial gestures.
In 2014 Davis began organizing exhibitions using works selected from the MOCA Los Angeles’ collection as his starting point. In the aftermath of Davis’ passing, the team of family and friends he gathered continued his work at the UM, transforming it into one of the liveliest and most important gathering places in Los Angeles for artists, filmmakers, musicians, writers, and activists. — Helen Molesworth
The exhibition NOAH DAVIS—curated by Molesworth—is now on view at David Zwirner in New York. An iteration of the show will open at the Underground Museum in Los Angeles in March 2020.
A new Davis monograph—featuring an introduction by Molesworth and oral history interviews that she conducted with Davis’ friends, family, and colleagues—is forthcoming.
Frank Wagner (1958–2016) introduced Berlin to Félix González-Torres, Cady Noland, Marlene Dumas, Alfredo Jaar, Barbara Kruger, and Nan Goldin, and in 1992 curated Close to the Knives—A Memoir of Disintegration: Ein Gedenkraum für David Wojnarowicz at KW.
For nearly four decades, Wagner was involved with RealismusStudio, a curatorial working group of Berlin’s neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst (nGbK). The memorial show TIES,TALES, AND TRACES—DEDICATED TO FRANK WAGNER draws from a selection of artworks and documents from his estate—Wagner left over 10,000 books and catalogues and about 350 artworks—and includes talks, tours, and symposia conducted by his friends and colleagues.
From top: Frank Wagner at LOVE AIDS RIOT SEX, 2014, neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst (nGbK), Berlin, installation view photograph by Christin Lahr, artwork by AnnaCharlotte Schmid, Gabor and Stefano III, Budapest, 2012, C-Print, courtesy the artist, the photographer, and nGbK; Wagner at the exhibitionFélix González-Torres (1957–1996),RealismusStudio, 1996, photograph by Jürgen Henschel, courtesy KW; Wagner and AA Bronson, photograph by Alyssa DeLuccia, courtesy Visual AIDS.