Imitation of Wealth




Noah Davis wanted to bring what he called ‘museum-quality art’ to a traditionally African-American and Latino working-class neighborhood. However, when The Underground Museum first opened, no museums were willing to lend such works.

Undaunted, Davis decided to recreate iconic artworks by famous artists such as Marcel Duchamp, On Kawara, and Jeff Koons.

The title for his inaugural exhibition, Imitation of Wealth, alludes to Douglas Sirk’s classic film Imitation of Life (1959), a pre-civil rights era melodrama about passing. Just as the film’s protagonist pretends to be white in order to escape the fate of the second-class citizenship offered to African Americans, the works in the exhibition masquerade as famous works of art in an attempt to break down the traditional class and ethnic barriers to high culture.

Irreverent and tongue-in-cheek,Imitation of Wealth stages many of art’s time-honored questions about the nature of truth and authenticity.

On view August-November 2013.

Images courtesy of The Underground Museum