Sonia Louise Davis Selects
Exhibition and Sale to Benefit the Foundation for Contemporary Arts
Opening Thursday, December 9th, 6 to 8 p.m.
December 9-18, 2021
Greene Naftali Gallery
This is the seventeenth Foundation for Contemporary Arts (FCA) benefit exhibition. Extending the “artists for artists” history of the organization, FCA invited artist Sonia Louise Davis to serve as curator. Davis has generously supported FCA for many years through service on grant panels and as an artist contributor.
Interested in the connection among artists, Davis took works by Suzanne Jackson and Robert Rauschenberg on view here as her curatorial framework.
106 artists have generously donated the works in this exhibition to benefit FCA’s programs of support for individual artists.
On Saturday, December 18 at 3PM, there will be a performance by Ashley Grier who will respond to works on view in the exhibition through voice and movement. Grier is an interdisciplinary artist who utilizes her background as a classically trained singer and performer to create mythologies and build worlds with and around the human voice and body.
From the Curator, Sonia Louise Davis
“Artists for artists,” the Foundation for Contemporary Arts’ guiding principle, should be a mantra. Curating this year’s benefit exhibition has been both an honor and a charge. The urgency of our present moment demands the kind of care I witness within the communities I’m a part of. As artists, we never do our work alone. We recommend our peers, assist our mentors, show up for friends at their exhibitions and performances. Community is an active verb—it’s something we must do.
I received FCA’s timely support twice via Emergency Grants when rapidly approaching exhibitions seemed almost impossible to pull off. In the years since, I have told countless other artists about this lifeline, especially those who show and perform at non-profits and artist-run venues. When the world shut down in March 2020, FCA quickly pivoted their grant programs towards cancelled opportunities, putting much needed funds in the hands of thousands of individual choreographers, composers, artists, and poets.
My curatorial frame takes shape around two moons: Pretentious Luminations, 2021 by Suzanne Jackson, and Nasturtium Summer Glut, 1988 by Robert Rauschenberg, a piece he donated to that year’s benefit exhibition celebrating the Foundation’s 25th anniversary. Both artists’ respective bodies of work highlight how we are always embedded within larger ecosystems, even when we have relatively solitary studio practices. Jackson’s artist-run Gallery 32 presented exhibitions by peers inside her LA studio in the late 60s, and Rauschenberg performed in works by other artists throughout his life and supported generations of practitioners even after his death. I find personal inspiration in their dedication to materiality, (re)invention, and critical environmental sensitivity.
With these two works in mind, I began compiling my invitations. I thought of artists who should know about the work the Foundation does as well as artists whose work should be known to the Foundation. I also asked groups of friends, couples who collaborate and create separately, and those whose work I have long admired but who I have never met.
A spirit of generosity permeates this show from every corner, not only evidenced by the quality and quantity of the works donated, but also by the associated in-kind offers—framing, trucking, space—all of which speak to the robust network of support the Foundation for Contemporary Arts continues to cultivate. In the midst of ongoing challenges, may “artists for artists” remind us of the deep ties within and across our expanded field and lead us towards collaborative, interconnected futures.
—Sonia Louise Davis
Esteban Cabeza de Baca
Sonia Louise Davis
Iris Yirei Hu
Jennie C. Jones
Millie Kapp and Matt Shalzi
Nancy Y. Kim
Okwui Okpokwasili and Peter Born
Marcela E. Torres
Patrice Renée Washington