Tag Archives: Marlene Dumas

NOAH DAVIS

Noah Davis (1983–2015) was a figurative painter and cofounder of the Underground 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, [Mark Rothko], 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.

NOAH DAVIS

Through February 22.

David Zwirner

525 and 533 West 19th Street, New York City.

Noah Davis, Noah Davis, David Zwirner, January 16–February 22, 2020, from top: 1975 (8), 2013, oil on canvas in artist’s frame; LA Nights, 2008, oil on wood panel; Pueblo del Rio: Arabesque, 2014, oil on canvas; Single Mother with Father Out of the Picture, 2007–2008, oil, acrylic, and graphite on canvas; Black Widow, 2007, acrylic and gouache on canvas; The Waiting Room, 2008, oil and acrylic on canvas; Painting for My Dad, 2011, oil on canvas; Untitled (Birch Trees), 2010, oil on canvas; Carlos’ World, 2014–2015, oil on canvas; Leni Riefenstahl, 2010, oil on canvas; Man with Alien and Shotgun, 2008, oil and acrylic on canvas; Noah Davis in Los Angeles, 2009 (detail), photograph by Patrick O’Brien-Smith; The Last Barbeque, 2008, oil on canvas; The Summer House, 2010, oil on canvas; Pueblo del Rio: Concerto, 2014, oil on canvas; Untitled, 2015, oil on canvas; Imaginary Enemy, 2009, oil on wood panel. Images courtesy and © the Estate of Noah Davis, the photographers, and David Zwirner; quote courtesy and © Helen Molesworth and David Zwirner.

ALICE NEEL — FREEDOM

Two years after Alice Neel, Uptown, David Zwirner presents ALICE NEEL—FREEDOM, another great exhibition of the painter’s work, this time focused on Neel’s portrayal of the nude figure.

The show’s catalogue features contributions by Marlene Dumas, Helen Molesworth, and Ginny Neel, Alice’s daughter-in-law and the organizer of FREEDOM.

ALICE NEEL—FREEDOM

Through April 13.

David Zwirner

537 West 20th Street, New York City.

From top: Alice Neel, Pregnant Julie and Algis, 1967; Alice Neel, Degenerate Madonna, 1930; Alice Neel, Untitled (Alice Neel and John Rothschild in the Bathroom), 1935; Alice Neel, Bronx Bacchus, 1929; Alice Neel, Joe Gould, 1933. All artwork © The Estate of Alice Neel, courtesy The Estate of Alice Neel and David Zwirner.

TO FRANK WAGNER

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.

TIES, TALES, AND TRACES—DEDICATED TO FRANK WAGNER

Through May 5.

KW Institute for Contemporary Art

Auguststrasse 69, Berlin.

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 Anna Charlotte Schmid, Gabor and Stefano III, Budapest, 2012, C-Print, courtesy the artist, the photographer, and nGbK; Wagner at the exhibition Félix González-Torres (1957–1996), RealismusStudio, 1996, photograph by Jürgen Henschel, courtesy KWWagner and AA Bronson, photograph by Alyssa DeLuccia, courtesy Visual AIDS.

HILTON ALS — A COLLECTIVE PORTRAIT OF JAMES BALDWIN

“Troubled times get the tyrants and prophets they deserve. During our current epoch, the revival of interest in author James Baldwin has been particularly intense. This is in part due, of course, to his ability to analyze and articulate how power abuses through cunning and force and why, in the end, it’s up to the people to topple kingdoms.

“As a galvanizing humanitarian force, Baldwin is now being claimed as a kind of oracle. But by claiming him as such, much gets erased about the great artist in the process, specifically his sexuality and aestheticism, both of which informed his politics.” — Hilton Als*

GOD MADE MY FACE—A COLLECTIVE PORTRAIT OF JAMES BALDWIN—a group show curated by Hilton Als, featuring the work of Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Alvin Baltrop, Beauford Delaney, Marlene Dumas, Ja’Tovia Gary, Glenn Ligon, Alice Neel, Cameron Rowland, Kara WalkerJane Evelyn Atwood, and James Welling—is on view through mid-February.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Metrograph and Als will present a series of films featuring Baldwin through the years, at home and abroad.

GOD MADE MY FACE—

A COLLECTIVE PORTRAIT OF JAMES BALDWIN*

Through February 16.

David Zwirner

525 and 533 West 19th Street, New York City.

HILTON ALS ON JAMES BALDWIN FILM SERIES

Friday and Saturday, February 1 and 2.

Metrograph

7 Ludlow Street, New York City.

See “The Energy of Joy: Hilton Als in conversation with David Bridel and Mary-Alice Daniel,” PARIS LA 16 (2019): 217–221.

From top: Marlene Dumas, James Baldwin, 2014, from the Great Men series exhibited at Manifesta 10 in St. Petersburg, image credit: Marlene Dumas and Bernard Ruijgrok PiezographicsBeauford Delaney, Dark Rapture, 1941, oil on canvas; Alvin Baltrop, The Piers (man sitting), 1975-1986, photograph; Richard AvedonJames Baldwin, writer, Harlem, New York, 1945, © The Richard Avedon Foundation; Ja’Tovia Gary, An Ecstatic Experience, 2015, video still; Jane Evelyn AtwoodJames Baldwin with bust of himself sculpted by Larry Wolhandler, Paris, France, 1975 (detail), gelatin silver print. All images courtesy David Zwirner.