Artists on Coping: Michael David

During the Coronavirus pandemic, Art Spiel is reaching out to artists to learn how they are coping.

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Brenda Goodman and John Yau in conversation at Life on Mars for her one -person exhibition

Michael David, a Guggenheim Fellow artist, has been exhibiting his paintings internationally since 1981, first with the Historical Sidney Janis and then with M. Knoedler & Co. for over two decades. His work is included in the permanent public collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, The Brooklyn Museum  in New York, The Houston Museum of Contemporary Art, the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art and was the subject of a one -person exhibition at Aspen Museum of Art . As an extension of his painting practice over the last six years David has established two reputable galleries, Life on Mars and M. David & Co., as well as an adjunct residency program at M.David &Co.

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Michael David, Image Isadora, Mixed Media, 65×22 inches, 2019

AS: How are you coping?

MD: Staying in and getting everything delivered. I have started back to painting slowly, but my creative energies have been channeled to my morning rants on facebook. It started with these Zoom groups I have organized with a discussion with painter Petey Brown about how hard it was for me to use the color yellow. I did a post asking everyone to post a Yellow painting and the response was overwhelming. We did another, asking everyone to post a YouTube video of a song that lifted their spirits and it resulted in this beautiful playlist. So, this project, which I call loosely the Yellow Chair Project, has turned into this conceptual piece using collaboration and social media and besides all that keeps me almost sane.

AS: Has your routine changed?

MD: How has it not.

AS: Can you describe some of your feelings about all this?

MD: For me it’s really to big to try to express one’s feelings about it. I will say I find that the best thing for me when I get overwhelmed is to try to step away from my own feelings and try to comfort or help someone else. It’s selfish on my part, but a decent kind of selfish.

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Michael David, The Navigator Lands in Reno, 88×44 inches, encaustic on wood, 2013-14
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Michael David, Berlin Gothic, 1983, Encaustic on Wood, 36×28 inches, Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

AS: What matters most right now?

MD: Family and health.

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My mother Edith Singer’s self portrait, 30x 23 inches, oil on canvas, 2006

AS: Any thoughts about the road ahead?

MD: In the words of the great 20th Century Philosopher and Hall Fame catcher for New York Yankees, the late great Yogi Berra “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Till then, stay home, stay safe and “stay thirsty my friend”. The last quote is from a Dos Equis commercial from the “most interesting man in the world.” See everyone on the other side.

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Yogi Berra, HOF catcher and philosopher King

Etty Yaniv works on her art, art writing and curatorial projects in Brooklyn. She founded Art Spiel as a platform for highlighting the work of contemporary artists, including art reviews, studio visits, interviews with artists, curators, and gallerists. For more details contact by Email: