We didn't rave about the Frank Stella show. And opening Friday is another Whitney extravaganza about another downtown artist. This one is sure to get better reviews.
I'll leave it to the art history majors to offer a thoughtful analysis sprinkled with jargon like "juxtaposition" and "derivative of..."
The show IS spectacular, and a worthy first-time-in-years tribute to a sometimes underrated and under-appreciated artist.
Explored are his leftist activities, and how they ended, and why. Paintings from and about his years in Paris are front and center. His original showings at the Whitney in the 1930s are explored. There are a lot of works on the walls, but not too many.
From our perspective, what the show was lacking was any notice of his Village ties. Dude lived on 13th St - a very short walk from this show, and there is a plaque on the building noting his years there. No mention whatsoever of that in the show, unless I missed it.
He also had a loft studio at the Hotel des Artistes (1 West 67th St.), but no mention I saw of that, either.
And he is buried in the famous Green River cemetery in East Hampton, near the final resting places of Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Frank O'Hara, Jimmy Ernst, James Brooks, Elaine deKooning, Charles Gwathmey, Alfonso Ossorio, Jean Stafford and A. J. Liebling. Worth at least a mention in his retrospective, right?
Of course people like to see how a painter looked, and how he may have looked in his studio. But there are zero photos here. Too bad. So we brought a Fred W. McDarrah photo of Davis that was made into a postcard many years ago, and set it up so Davis could see his show.
Learn more about Davis, his artist peers, the Whitney and so much more on the Save the Village: The Artist's World tour. Sign up today!