Young Blood: Noah Davis, Kahlil Joseph, The Underground Museum

April 16 – June 19, 2016

Frye Art Museum is pleased to present Young Blood, the first large-scale exhibition to explore the dynamic artistic equilibrium between brothers Noah Davis and Kahlil Joseph, two influential contemporary artists. Both Davis and Joseph grew up in Seattle; in recent years, they lived and worked in Los Angeles, where they built careers as artists of international influence and importance.

Celebrating the life and legacy of painter, curator, and visionary artist Noah Davis (1983–2015), Young Blood places Davis’ work in the context of an ongoing visual dialogue with his elder brother, artist and filmmaker, Kahlil Joseph. The title, Young Blood, comes from a name Joseph bestowed on Davis, both a term of endearment and a declaration of a common starting point.

The largest and widest selection of work by Davis and Joseph ever shown in a museum, Young Blood highlights the notion of a narrative continuum built through varied mediums of contemporary storytelling—including painting, sculpture, film, and installation—that creates an immersive sensory experience. The exhibition explores concepts that Davis brought to the forefront of discussions about access, class, and the creation of independent art spaces, such as The Underground Museum in Los Angeles, which he founded with his wife Karon Davis in 2012.

Organized by the Frye Art Museum and conceived and curated by Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes, a Seattle-based artist, Young Blood continues Davis’ exploration of the ways in which spaces such as The Underground Museum interact, intersect, and exchange value with traditional arts institutions. Young Blood is a celebration of black culture, spirituality, and creative legacy.

Noah Davis (1983–2015) is known for his large-scale paintings depicting shadowy, isolated figures against rich color fields with dripping textures and mixed media installations. After dropping out of New York’s Cooper Union, Davis exhibited internationally at Roberts & Tilton, L&M Arts, and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) in Los Angeles, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Torrance Art Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., DODGE Gallery and Jack Tilton Gallery in New York. Davis was featured in the landmark exhibition, 30 Americans, a celebration of the most important African American artists of the past three decades organized by the Rubell Family Collection. His work is in the permanent collections of the Hammer Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem, the Nasher Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). He was the recipient of LACMA's 2013 Art Here and Now (AHAN): Studio Forum award. In 2012, Davis founded The Underground Museum in the working-class neighborhood of Arlington Heights, Los Angeles. Three years later, Davis struck an unprecedented partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), allowing him to exhibit works from their permanent collection at The Underground Museum.

Kahlil Joseph is a renowned Los Angeles-based filmmaker and artist. He has worked with some of the most influential artists in music, including Kendrick Lamar, FKA twigs, Flying Lotus, Seu Jorge, and Shabazz Palaces. His short film Until the Quiet Comes received widespread critical acclaim and won the Grand Jury Prize for Short Films at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival as well as Video of the Year at the UK Music Video Awards in 2013. Joseph has exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, and the Whitney Museum of Art in New York.Wildcat, which has been re-imagined for the Frye Art Museum, documents the real and spiritual world of an all-black rodeo in Grayson, Oklahoma. It was shown at Avant-Noir, the 2014 Artists' Film Biennial at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. Joseph's m.A.A.d., a lush portrait of contemporary Compton, California, was presented at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival's inaugural New Frontier exhibition and will also appear in Art Basel’s Unlimited exhibition in Switzerland this June. Joseph is a recipient of the 2016 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship.

Young Blood: Noah Davis, Kahlil Joseph, The Underground Museum is organized by the Frye Art Museum and curated by Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes.

The exhibition is funded by the Frye Foundation with the generous support of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, 4Culture/King County Lodging Tax, Riddell Williams P.S., Westbank, Commonwealth Projects, Lianne Barnes and Stephen Zimmerman, Royal Alley-Barnes MAT, Cathy and Michael Casteel, Christopher and Alida Latham, Meriwether Advisors, and Frye Art Museum members and donors. Additional funding is provided by David and Kristi Buck, Tina Bullitt, Peter Goldman and Martha Kongsgaard, Perkins+Will, Dana Reid and Larry Hitchon, David and Catherine Skinner, and R.M. Watson Co. ArtsFund provides seasonal support. Media sponsorship is provided by The Stranger.

Kahlil Joseph. Streetlight (detail), 2014. Motion picture still. Collection of the artist.
Noah Davis. The Internal Contract, 2009. Oil on canvas. 48 1/2 x 48 1/2 in. Collection of Annie Camarda. © The Estate of Noah Davis. Photo: Mark Woods.
Kahlil Joseph. Still from Dawn in Luxor, 2016. Two-channel film work with audio. Collection of The Underground Museum.
Noah Davis. Painting for My Dad, 2011. Oil on canvas. 76 x 91 in. Rubell Family Collection, Miami. © The Estate of Noah Davis. Photo: Rubell Family Collection.
Kahlil Joseph. Still from Dawn in Luxor, 2016. Two-channel film work with audio. Collection of The Underground Museum.
Noah Davis. Isis, 2009. Oil and acrylic on linen. 48 x 48 in. Collection of Andrew Stearn. © The Estate of Noah Davis. Photo: Mark Woods.
Kahlil Joseph. Still from Wildcat (Aunt Janet), 2016. Three-channel film work with audio. Collection of the Underground Museum.
Noah Davis. Untitled, 2015. Oil on canvas. 65 x 77 in. © The Estate of Noah Davis.
Noah Davis. Man with Shotgun and Alien, 2008. Oil and acrylic on canvas. 54 x 42 in. Collection of Lynn and Craig Jacobson. © The Estate of Noah Davis. Photo: Mark Woods.
Noah Davis and Kahlil Joseph. Installation view of Sacred Garden, 2016. Design and production: Commonwealth Projects. Photo: Mark Woods.