Celebrating the third and final volume of his Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings—edited by EvaMeyer-Hermann and published last year—join Luc Tuymans in conversation with Helen Molesworth at the Morgan Library.
The artist will present a new solo exhibition at David Zwirner, Hong Kong, in March 2020. In 2009 at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Molesworth curated the first United States retrospective of Tuymans’s work.
Recognizing the ongoing threat to reproductive rights in the United States, ABORTION IS NORMAL—sponsored by the Downtown for DemocracyIndependent Expenditure Committee—is an “emergency art exhibition curated by Jasmine Wahi and RebeccaPauline Jampol and organized by Marilyn Minter, Gina Nanni, Laurie Simmons, and Sandy Tait.”*
Part 2 of the show opens this week at Arsenal Contemporary in Manhattan.
Contributing artists include Allison Janae Hamilton, Ameya Marie Okamoto, Amy Khoshbin, Andrea Chung, Arlene Shechet, Barbara Kruger, Betty Tompkins, Cajsa von Zeipel, CarrieMae Weems, Carroll Dunham, Catherine Opie, Cecily Brown, Chloe Wise, Christopher Myers, Christen Clifford, Cindy Sherman, Delano Dunn, Derrick Adams, Dominique Duroseau, Elektra KB, Fin Simonetti, Grace Graupe Pillard, Hank Willis Thomas, Hayv Kahraman, Jaishri Abichandani, Jack Pierson, Jane Kaplowitz, Jon Kessler, Jonathan Horowitz, Jonathan LyndonChase, Judith Bernstein, Judith Hudson, Katrina Majkut, Louise Lawler, Lyle Ashton Harris, Marisa Morán Jahn, Michele Pred, Miguel Luciano, MikaRottenberg, Nadine Faraj, Nan Goldin, Narcissister, Natalie Frank, Rob Pruitt, Ryan McGinley, Sahana Ramakrishnan, Sarah Sze, Shirin Neshat, Shoshanna Weinberger, Shout YourAbortion, Sojourner Truth Parsons, Suzy Lake, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, Viva Ruiz, Walter Robinson, Wangechi Mutu, Xaviera Simmons, Yvette Molina, and Zoe Buckman.
New editions by Paul Chan, Rashid Johnson, and Richard Prince are alsoavailable.
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.
This picture will be science fiction. You are astonished? But science fiction can be in the past as well as the future. This picture is a trip back to Nero’s time, and that means it is a trip into an unknown dimension. What do we know about the Romans? This has made problems for me. My other pictures have all been autobiographical to one degree or another… But now I must become detached, and that has been very hard work.
First I have to invent this world of Nero. Then I must see it from a very narrow point of view, so it will appear foreign and unknown. I am examining ancient Rome as if this were a documentary about the customs and habits of the Martians. To be detached from your own creation is unnatural—I must look on my son as a stranger…
Because the film is so detached, the sex in it will not be erotic. Everyone says Fellini is making a dirty movie. But everything will be abstract, detached. The sex in SATYRICON will be like those ancient Indian statues on the positions of love. Even as you see a woman kissing a monster, it means nothing, because it is so old, so far away, from another civilization…
If you see with innocent eyes, everything is divine… All artists are equal when they are themselves. — Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini, FelliniSatyricon (1969), from top: Hiram Keller; Keller and Martin Potter (right); Mario Romagnoli (right); Fellini with actor on set; Fellini Satyricon; Capucine; U.S. poster; Fellini Satyricon; Keller.
Paintings are everywhere on Instagram. They circulate freely outside the control of the market, though they endure the censorship of social networks. Instagram is the universal exhibition of today – the Painting Salon of the 2020s. This is where I see more new paintings than I see in the galleries. This is where I discover more new artists and insensibly follow them, without even thinking, and then get off so easily.
Now, the idea is to restore and translate something of my digital experience on Instagram in an art gallery format. It’s a different kind of exhibition experience. But I ask myself, is the gallery transference interesting? Will a group show of such works hold up? Can we exhibit artists without knowing who they are? Or without first seeing their work in the flesh? What can I even say about this recent mutation of taste in narrative, pictorial, eclecticism…a sense of taste that, for me, includes sexual, fetishistic and maybe neo-surrealistic tendencies?
A theoretical question also arises: What’s painting even doing on Instagram?
First, let me say that a painting on Instagram is just an image. It’s a simulacrum, an image of an image, even a non-image or anti-image. A painting does not reproduce reality, nor does it duplicate it, and the image of a painting does not reproduce or duplicate a painting’s physical reality. A painting is a world apart. A world of shadows and lights. A mystery of surface and depth. An enigmatic mixture of colored matter and sensation. A painting stands in opposition to the digital experience of images that can be consumed en masse. Yet the image of a painting on a phone screen slows down my typically speedy, one-after-another consumption of images. The image of a painting often intrigues and even surprises me. Some linger in my memory, and a few more works by the same artist can deepen what began as a fragile and vague emotion. Unlike endlessly scrolled images, the digital image of a painting makes me think. It can even block the flow of thousands of images even as it too is carried off in the digital current. It stays because another kind of desire is played through it.
The images that cross in front of us, that absorb and consume us, embody a new form of global forgetfulness and contemporary amnesia. In the end, it’s a sadomasochistic suffering that we inflict on ourselves in war with images. Love may reside in the social network on the side of paintings. A single painting, in the midst of the seemingly intimate torment, is like a new beginning: to paint is to love again.
My desire to make an exhibition of Instagram paintings begins with what Instagram does to paintings. Instagramreturns to a painting what belongs to it. This is neither its decorative value, market value nor spiritual value, but rather its symbolic exchange of value. Isn’t that basically what Instagram tries to actualize or make us dream about: reinventing symbolic exchange? In the social and digital arena, where images of the world can defeat the world, paintings actualize a real connection to and between us. — Olivier Zahm
Join Zahm this weekend for the opening party of TO PAINT IS TO LOVE AGAIN, the show he’s curated for Nino Mier.