Noah Davis | David Zwirner
An untitled painting by Noah Davis, dated 2015.

Noah Davis

David Zwirner is pleased to present work by American artist Noah Davis (1983–2015), organized by Helen Molesworth. On view at the gallery’s 525 and 533 West 19th Street locations in New York, the exhibition will provide an overview of Davis’s brief but expansive career.

Davis’s body of work encompasses, on the one hand, his lush, sensual, figurative paintings and, on the other, an ambitious institutional project called The Underground Museum, a black-owned-and-operated art space dedicated to the exhibition of museum-quality art in a culturally underserved African American and Latinx neighborhood in Los Angeles. The works on view will highlight both parts of Davis’s oeuvre, featuring more than twenty of his most enduring paintings, as well as models of previous exhibitions curated by Davis at The Underground Museum. The exhibition also includes a “back room,” modeled on the working offices at The Underground Museum, featuring more paintings by Davis, as well as BLKNWS by Davis’s brother Kahlil Joseph; a sculpture by Karon Davis, the artist’s widow; and Shelby George furniture, designed by Davis’s mother Faith Childs-Davis.

Read more

Image above: Noah Davis, Untitled, 2015 (detail). © The Estate of Noah Davis. Courtesy The Estate of Noah Davis

Images below, in order of appearance: Noah Davis, Los Angeles, 2009 (detail). Photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith; Noah Davis, David Hammons, Ian White, Henry Taylor, and Kahlil Joseph, Underground Museum, 2015; Noah Davis and Moses Davis, Los Angeles, c. 2010-11 (detail). Photo by Karon Davis

Dates
January 16February 22, 2020
Opening Reception
Thursday, January 16, 6–8 PM
Artist

In this video, Karon Davis, Thelma Golden, Helen Molesworth, and Henry Taylor recall Davis’s charisma, and how he used it to turn The Underground Museum from a beautiful dream into reality.

Noah Davis in Los Angeles, 2009. Photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith.
A photo of Noah Davis, David Hammons, Ian White, Henry Taylor, and Kahlil Joseph, Underground Museum in 2015.
A photo of Noah Davis and his son Moses Davis at James Harris Gallery, Seattle, in 2010. Photo by Karon Davis.

“He made some four hundred paintings, collages, and sculptures, although I think it’s fair to say the deep DNA truth of Noah was that he was first and foremost a painter. His paintings are both figurative and abstract, realistic and dreamlike; they are about blackness and the history of Western painting, drawn from photographs and from life; they are exuberant and doleful in their palette, influenced by European painters Marlene Dumas and Luc Tuymans, as well as American ones such as Mark Rothko and Fairfield Porter.”
—Helen Molesworth

A painting by Noah Davis, titled Isis, dated 2009.

Noah Davis

Isis, 2009
Oil and acrylic on linen

48 x 48 inches
(121.9 x 121.9 cm)

A painting by Noah Davis, titled Single Mother with Father Out of the Picture, dated 2007–2008.

Noah Davis

Single Mother with Father Out of the Picture
Oil, acrylic, and graphite on canvas

40 x 30 1/4 inches (101.6 x 76.8 cm)

“Noah had lots of friends and, if you ever meet one, I hope you’ll ask them to tell you a story about him. Let them bring him forward.”
—Helen Molesworth

 

The testimonials that follow are excerpted from Noah Davis. Forthcoming from David Zwirner Books, this monograph provides a unique record of the artist’s extraordinary body of work and his story, told through the recollections of his friends. The book features an introduction by Molesworth, whom Davis asked to be his curator and the steward of his legacy.

a photo of Noah Davis and Daniel DeSure, Halloween, Los Angeles, dated 2009.

Noah Davis and Daniel DeSure, Halloween, Los Angeles, 2009

Photo by Karon Davis

Daniel DeSure, Designer and Film Producer

 

“One day Noah came over and from the moment we met, it was just like we had known each other forever…. At the end of 2008 we got a studio together, downtown in Boyle Heights.

 

Here’s a story: I was leaving the studio on a Friday afternoon, around four or five o’clock…. Noah was just showing up and he had all of these canvases with him and he said, ‘I have to get all these paintings done by Sunday.’ I mean, no exaggeration—he must have had twelve, fourteen canvases…. And he stayed in the studio and finished all those paintings in a weekend. When I came in on Monday I was floored, floored.

 

He had ideals of how the world should or could function...He had an artistic vision that he brought to painting, but he brought it to everything he did in the world. He would say, ‘I wanna make this museum. I wanna work. I’m gonna start making sculptures.’...I always said that there was a kind of ‘Noah truth.’”

Lindsay Charlwood, Curator and Gallery Director

 

“The work was so strange, so beautiful, and so emotionally evocative or disturbing or impactful to so many people.... He could make a completely realized painting in a matter of hours. He could also work on something for such a long time that it ended up disappearing, and you never saw it again.

 

Everything always existed in strong opposition within his work and within his personality too. Nothing was ever simple for him.

 

I think that’s really the beauty of his work. I think Noah is the best painter of my generation, and I feel strongly about that. I always have…. Everything he did was so honest and made from a place of necessity.”

A photo of Lindsay Charlwood and Noah Davis at Roberts and Tilton Gallery, Los Angeles, in 2008–2009.

Lindsay Charlwood and Noah Davis, Roberts and Tilton Gallery, Los Angeles, 2008-2009

Photo by Karon Davis

A photo of Noah Davis and Henry Taylor, Palm Springs, dated 2014.

Noah Davis and Henry Taylor, Palm Springs, 2014

Photo by Andrea Bowers

Henry Taylor, Artist

 

“He was a smart-ass kid, but a kid that I listened to…. I know a lot of artists. But being around Noah was something totally different.... Noah raised the motherfucking bar.

 

I was there when he started moving into the [Underground Museum] space… And I guess sometimes I said, ‘How you gonna do this?’ But you know what, I don’t think I really doubted him. It’s like Noah’s Ark.

 

Now I see stuff that I think Noah would show me and I say, ‘Ah, there’s a painting right there.’”

A painting by Noah Davis, titled Leni Riefenstahl, dated 2010.

Noah Davis

Leni Riefenstahl, 2010
Oil on canvas

73 3/4 x 60 inches
(187.3 x 152.4 cm)

A painting by Noah Davis, titled Pueblo del Rio: Concerto, dated 2014.

Noah Davis

Pueblo del Rio: Concerto, 2014
Oil on canvas

48 x 72 inches
(121.9 x 182.9 cm)

“I look at the way I view LA now and I realize he saw this possibility as a cultural philosophy, a movement, and now it seems so clear.”
—Thomas Housego, Artist

Providing a crucial record of Davis’s extraordinary oeuvre, this monograph tells the story of a brilliant artist and cultural force through the eyes of his friends and collaborators.

 

Buy Now

A photo of a book titled Noah Davis, printed in 2020.
A painting by Noah Davis, titled Black Boy Scout, dated 2013.

Noah Davis

Black Boy Scout, 2013
Oil on canvas in artist's frame

31 1/2 x 13 5/8 inches
(80 x 34.6 cm)

A painting by Noah Davis, titled The Casting Call, dated 2008.

Noah Davis

The Casting Call, 2008
Oil and acrylic on canvas

60 x 62 inches

(152.4 x 157.5 cm)

A painting by Noah Davis, titled Untitled (Birch Trees), dated 2010.

Noah Davis

Untitled (Birch Trees), 2010
Oil on canvas

54 1/2 x 36 1/2 inches
(138.4 x 92.7 cm)

A painting by Noah Davis, titled Mary Jane, dated 2008.

Noah Davis

Mary Jane, 2008
Oil and acrylic on canvas

60 x 52 1/4 inches
(152.4 x 132.7 cm)
Framed: 61 3/8 x 53 5/8 inches
(155.9 x 136.2 cm)

A painting by Noah Davis, titled Leni Riefenstahl, dated 2010.

Noah Davis

Leni Riefenstahl, 2010
Oil on canvas

73 3/4 x 60 inches
(187.3 x 152.4 cm)

A painting by Noah Davis, titled The Waiting Room, dated 2008.

Noah Davis

The Waiting Room, 2008
Oil and acrylic on canvas

50 x 65 inches
(127 x 165.1 cm)

A painting by Noah Davis, titled Painting for My Dad, dated 2011.

Noah Davis

Painting for My Dad, 2011
Oil on canvas

76 x 91 inches
(193 x 231.1 cm)

A painting by Noah Davis, titled Pueblo del Rio: Concerto, dated 2014.

Noah Davis

Pueblo del Rio: Concerto, 2014
Oil on canvas

48 x 72 inches
(121.9 x 182.9 cm)

A painting by Noah Davis, titled Pueblo del Rio: Arabesque, dated 2014.

Noah Davis

Pueblo del Rio: Arabesque, 2014
Oil on canvas

48 x 72 inches
(121.9 x 182.9 cm)

A painting by Noah Davis, titled Imaginary Enemy, dated 2009.

Noah Davis

Imaginary Enemy, 2009
Oil on wood panel

84 x 96 inches
(213.4 x 243.8 cm)

A painting by Noah Davis, titled Isis, dated 2009.

Noah Davis

Isis, 2009
Oil and acrylic on linen

48 x 48 inches
(121.9 x 121.9 cm)

A painting by Noah Davis, titled LA Nights, dated 2008.

Noah Davis

LA Nights, 2008
Oil on wood panel

25 1/2 x 19 1/2 inches (64.8 x 49.5 cm)

A painting by Noah Davis, titled Carlos' World, dated 2014 to 2015.

Noah Davis

Carlos' World
Oil on canvas

72 x 54 inches
(182.9 x 137.2 cm)

An oil painting on canvas by Noah Davis, titled NO-OD for Me, dated 2008.

Noah Davis

NO-OD for Me, 2008
Oil and acrylic on canvas

60 x 52 1/2 inches
(152.4 x 133.3 cm)

An mixed media work on canvas by Noah Davis, titled Single Mother with Father Out of the Picture, dated 2007 to 2008.

Noah Davis

Single Mother with Father Out of the Picture
Oil, acrylic, and graphite on canvas

40 x 30 1/4 inches
(101.6 x 76.8 cm)

A painting by Noah Davis, titled Delusions of Grandeur, dated 2007.

Noah Davis

Delusions of Grandeur, 2007
Acrylic and gouache on canvas

36 x 24 inches
(91.4 x 61 cm)

A painting by Noah Davis, titled 1975 (8), dated 2013.

Noah Davis

1975 (8), 2013
Oil on canvas in artist's frame

49 1/2 x 73 1/2 inches
(125.7 x 186.7 cm)

A painting by Noah Davis, titled Bad Boy for Life, dated 2007.

Noah Davis

Bad Boy for Life, 2007
Acrylic, gouache, and conte crayon on canvas

30 x 30 inches
(76.2 x 76.2 cm)

An untitled oil painting on canvas by Noah Davis, dated 2015.

Noah Davis

Untitled, 2015
Oil on canvas

32 x 50 inches
(81.3 x 127 cm)

An oil painting on linen on wood panel, titled Untitled (Moses), date to be confirmed.

Noah Davis

Untitled (Moses), 2010
Oil on linen on wood panel

8 x 10 1/4 inches
(20.3 x 26 cm)

An oil painting on wood panel with silver leaf by Noah Davis, titled Prey, dated 2010.

Noah Davis

Prey, 2010
Oil on wood panel with silver leaf

60 x 84 inches
(152.4 x 213.4 cm)

An oil painting on canvas by Noah Davis, titled The Last Barbeque, dated 2008.

Noah Davis

The Last Barbeque, 2008
Oil on canvas

60 x 52 inches
(152.4 x 132.1 cm)

An oil painting on canvas by Noah Davis, titled The "Fitz", dated 2015.

Noah Davis

The "Fitz", 2015
Oil on canvas

80 x 77 inches
(203.2 x 195.6 cm)
Collection of Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Purchase with funds provided by the Director's Council
Accession #: 2016.14

An oil painting on canvas by Noah Davis, titled The Summer House, dated 2010.

Noah Davis

The Summer House, 2010
Oil on canvas

48 1/4 x 48 1/4 inches
(122.6 x 122.6 cm)

An oil painting on canvas by Noah Davis, titled Pueblo del Rio: Stain Glass Pants, dated 2014.

Noah Davis

Pueblo del Rio: Stain Glass Pants, 2014
Oil on canvas

72 x 48 inches
(182.9 x 121.9 cm)

An oil painting on canvas by Noah Davis, titled Man with Alien and Shotgun, dated 2008.

Noah Davis

Man with Alien and Shotgun, 2008
Oil and acrylic on canvas

54 x 42 1/4 inches
(137.2 x 107.3 cm)

An acrylic and gouache painting on canvas, titled Black Widow, dated 2007.

Noah Davis

Black Widow, 2007
Acrylic and gouache on canvas

36 x 24 inches
(91.4 x 61 cm)

    Read More Read Less

      Inquire

      To learn more about this artwork, please provide your contact information.

      By sharing your details you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.

      Inquire

      To learn more about available works, please provide your contact information

      By sharing your details you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.

      • Noah Davis
        Explore
        Checklist