Born in Seattle, Washington, Noah Davis (1983–2015) studied painting at The Cooper Union School of Art in New York before moving to Los Angeles, where, in 2012, he founded the Underground Museum in the city’s Arlington Heights neighborhood with his wife and fellow artist, Karon Davis.
Davis’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Roberts & Tilton, Culver City, California (2008, 2010, and 2013); Tilton Gallery, New York (2009 and 2011); PAPILLION, Los Angeles (2014); and the Rebuild Foundation, Chicago (2016), among others. Noah Davis: Imitation of Wealth opened at the Underground Museum on the same day as the artist’s untimely death at age thiry-two, due to complications from a rare cancer. In 2016, Frye Art Museum, Seattle, presented the two-person exhibition Young Blood: Noah Davis, Kahlil Joseph, The Underground Museum—the first large-scale museum show to explore Davis’s work alongside that of his brother’s. In 2020, an acclaimed solo presentation of Davis’s work was on view at David Zwirner, New York, and traveled to the Underground Museum, Los Angeles in 2022.
A selection of the artist's work is currently being presented at the 59th Venice Biennale. The artist’s work is featured in the landmark exhibition 30 Americans, which was organized by the Rubell Family Collection, Miami, and has traveled extensively throughout the United States from 2008 to the present. Davis’s work has been included in other notable group exhibitions, including ones held at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California (2010 and 2020); The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2012 and 2015); Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2017); and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), North Adams (2018).
On view in 2021 at David Zwirner, London was a solo exhibition of the artist’s work, providing an overview of Davis's brief but expansive career. On the occasion of the exhibition, a monograph is forthcoming from David Zwirner Books, featuring a new essay by writer and musician Greg Tate and a roundtable discussion with curator Thomas Lax, artists Glenn Ligon and Julie Mehretu, and poet and scholar Fred Moten, moderated by Helen Molesworth.
Davis was the recipient of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s 2013 Art Here and Now (AHAN): Studio Forum award. Works by the artist are included in the permanent collections of numerous institutions, including the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina; Rubell Museum, Miami; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.