Noah Davis, a Los Angeles painter and installation artist known for establishing the Underground Museum, an important artist-run space in Arlington Heights, has died. He was 32.
The artist, who became a significant art world presence over a short career, died Saturday at home in Los Angeles, Sarah Stifler, a Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art representative, told the Los Angeles Times. The Underground Museum recently established a unique curatorial partnership with MOCA.
Davis’s death from complications related to a rare cancer occurred on the same day that an installation of his work, “Imitation of Wealth,” opened at the museum.
“I’m so honored we got to do the work we got to do together for the past year,” MOCA chief curator Helen Molesworth told The Times in an interview shortly before Davis’ death. “Noah is an important artist because he occupies the term ‘artist’ in the largest possible way: an incredibly accomplished painter, he is also a profound visionary — dreaming up the idea of the Underground Museum and then physically enacting that dream against all odds.”
Born in Seattle on June 3, 1983, Davis was the youngest son of Keven Davis, a lawyer, and Faith Childs-Davis, an educator. His older brother, Kahlil Joseph, is a noted filmmaker and video artist who has also shown work at MOCA.
Molesworth said Davis’ death represents a loss for the city.
“He got Los Angeles,” she told The Times. “He got that you could do impossible things here. That this was a brown city, a black city.”
Davis is survived by his wife, artist Karon Davis; his mother; his brother; and his 5-year-old son, Moses.
—City News Service