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.
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.
“Jacques Derrida loved the word observe. He paid special attention to its root word, serve, which tied observation to respect, service, and deference. To observe something, he thought, was an act of humility. You gave yourself over to the details, gathering data and storing it in reserve for the future… *
“StanDouglas uses lens-based media to facilitate this kind of servitude to details. I mention Derrida not to overemphasize the theoretical structures at work in Douglas’ output (and there are many), but rather to point out that the production details Douglas wants viewers to notice in his work are many and fine, and require sustained concentration…. [His work] is an invitation to become curious: about the narratives that have brought Douglas’ subjects to his camera and to the viewer’s gaze; about the processes Douglas uses to make an image look the way it does; and about how his subjects have emerged from seemingly long-lost historical moments and ended up in his pictures.” — Katie Anania
This week, Stan Douglas will give the UCLA Department of Art Lecture at the Hammer.
“Dinner with Paul Cadmus in the Village. He showed me a hundred drawings or more; the nakedest and least disinterested are the best, particularly those of Jared French. Until lately they have shared this apartment, an oddly un-American interior; good shabby antiques; a quantity of books and music, charming evidence of self-education. Late in the evening a youth named Lloyd Goff, who was Paul’s assistant, wandered in, at his ease, sleepy, perhaps tipsy. Soon he threw himself on the couch and fell asleep… Paul and I talked and talked, reminiscence and theory, in that particular mood of ours, or of his: smiling relaxation, solemn boyish idealism, who knows what else…
“Goff then woke up and undertook to say goodnight, but the next thing I knew, there he lay again, sprawled face down on another couch, his clothes all drawn on the bias and tight upon his very fine little back and buttocks. At last I gave up whatever impulse it was that had kept me so late. Paul fondly accompanied me to the subway. Perhaps, he said, he would make a drawing or two before he went to bed; our talk had been so stimulating, and a sleeping model suits him…” — Glenway Westcott, 1937*
Falling between last year’s Nick Mauss: Transmissions at the Whitney and next month’s Lincoln Kirstein’s Modern at MOMA, THE YOUNG AND EVIL—curated by Jarrett Earnest at DavidZwirner—looks at the between-the-wars Neorealist-Romantic circles around the artists Jared French, his lover Paul Cadmus, his wife Margaret Hoening French (collectively known as PaJaMa), Cadmus’ sister Fidelma—who was married to Kirstein—Bernard Perlin, Pavel Tchelitchew, George Tooker, and Jensen Yow.
Taking its title from the 1933 collaborative novel by art critic Parker Tyler and poet Charles Henri Ford (Tchelitchew’s lover), the exhbition features never-before-exhibited photographs—many from the Kinsey Institute—rarely seen major paintings, sculptures, drawings, and ephemera of this American Bloomsbury, which included Katherine Anne Porter and the ménage à trois of writer Glenway Westcott, publisher Monroe Wheeler, and George Platt Lynes, who photographed (and often modeled for) them all.
THE YOUNG AND EVIL exhibition catalogue will be published later this year by David Zwirner Books, featuring new scholarship by Ann Reynolds and Kenneth E. Silver.