Our top picks of exhibitions together with cultural spaces and places, both online and in the real world.

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Viewing Noah Davis

Noah Davis was a genius talent who died too young. In August 2015 he succumbed to a rare form of cancer, just three months after turning 32. But his legacy lives on, as a brilliant new solo show at David Zwirner proves.

As well as being a gifted painter, Davis was co-founder of the Underground Museum, an artist-and family-run space dedicated to the exhibition of museum-quality art in a culturally underserved African American and Latino neighbourhood in Los Angeles.

Organised by Helen Molesworth, former chief curator at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, this exhibition highlights both parts of Davis’s practice. On display are a group of his rigorously composed paintings as well as models, artworks and archival materials that tell the story of the Underground Museum.

Using a notably dry paint application and a moody palette of blues, purples, and greens, Davis made figurative paintings that nod to artists like Marlene Dumas, Kerry James Marshall and Luc Tuymans. But his pictures can be slightly deceptive, says Molesworth. ‘They are modest in scale while being emotionally ambitious.’

At Zwirner, there are paintings from everyday life, such as a portrait of his young son, and paintings tinged with a hint of magical realism. You’ll encounter ‘surreal images that depict the world both seen and unseen, where the presence of ancestors, ghosts, and fantasy are everywhere apparent,’ adds Molesworth. These paintings demand slow, considered looking and show Davis to be one of the brightest stars of his generation.

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08 October 2021 — 17 November 2021

Viewing 528Hz Love Frequency

Historic Houghton Hall provides the setting for this major solo exhibition of holographic artworks, prints and large immersive laser and LED installations by British artist Chris Levine. Created specifically for the house and gardens, this new body of work explores Levine’s continued interest in the mediative and immersive properties of light and sound.

While there’s something to look forward to around every corner, the star of the show is Molecule of Light, a monumental spherical structure installed on the front lawn. The vast sculptural work emits a sound beam with modulating frequencies that Levine hopes will draw visitors into a brief mediative state. At night, it stands at the heart of an immersive field of laser lights that illuminate the grounds of Houghton as never before.

‘All my endeavours to create work that is truly experiential and transformative have brought me to this defining moment,’ Levine said. ‘I’ve always sought to create art that draws the viewer to stillness and into a meditative expansive state.’ Get thee to Norfolk now.

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22 October 2021 — 23 December 2021

Viewing Hurvin Anderson: Reverb

Hurvin Anderson is the name on everyone’s lips right now. In October Audition (1998), a rediscovered canvas of a public swimming pool, sold for £7.4 million at Christie’s in London, setting a new world record for the artist at auction. He’s also the subject of a brilliant new solo show at Thomas Dane Gallery and is part of the forthcoming exhibition at Tate Britain showing work by artists from the Caribbean who made their home in Britain.

Spanning both of Thomas Dane’s London galleries, Reverb features a series of disquieting works centred on a derelict hotel complex on the north coast of Jamaica. One of his most arresting cycles of paintings to date, it combines figurative landscape and modernist abstraction, while exploring the tension between nature and the man-made, modernity, interiority, longing, belonging and otherness. Like much of his practice, it touches on his Jamaican heritage and examines themes of memory, identity and nationhood to dazzling effect.

Anderson acknowledges the ambivalence in his compositions. ‘I am looking at where things collide, how these things respond to each other,’ he has said. ‘I like the contradictions and the friction that results. I have been thinking of things like overlapping worlds.’

Highlights on display include Grace Jones (2020), one of few paintings in the series to show a figure; and Limestone Wall (2020), which depicts an abandoned suite of rooms overrun with tropical vegetation depicted in gorgeous greens, teals and olives. There is something supremely beautiful yet menacing about these works. Which is of course what makes them so compelling. Take yourself to Davies Street pronto.

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12 October 2021 — 04 December 2021
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