Facing Survival | David Kassan

(in progress) Sam Goldofsky, Survivor of Auschwitz, 2015

September 18-December 7, 2019

The USC Fisher Museum of Art and The USC Shoah Foundation proudly present the exhibition “Facing Survival | David Kassan.”

Raya Kovensky, Survivor

Artist David Kassan’s singular vision and extraordinary talent combine in the exhibition “Facing Survival” featuring Kassan’s paintings and drawings of more than a dozen Holocaust survivors, created over a period of several years. In preparation for painting their portraits, Kassan recorded his subjects’ testimonies, getting to know them deeply. His intimate understanding of his subjects and of their unique histories conveys a sense of their experiences in the Holocaust as much as it does their individual appearance now: the visceral, lifelike imagery captures each person’s spirit, pain, and dignity. David Kassan’s portraits become a form of testimony in their own right, revealing the luminous visage of resilience, the complex nature of survival, and a contemporaneous reflection of their lives in the aftermath of genocidal violence.

To extend the exploration of testimony and its multiple forms, the exhibition will also feature USC Shoah Foundation’s interactive biography “Dimensions in Testimony.” Through this cutting-edge interactive display, visitors to the exhibition will be able to ask questions of some of the subjects in the paintings and hear their pre-recorded responses, giving firsthand accounts of their experiences. The exhibition will further illuminate Kassan’s process by featuring the sketches he made as he progressed to the final paintings. An in-depth catalogue will also accompany the exhibition.

Born in 1977 in Little Rock, Arkansas, David Jon Kassan is an internationally recognized contemporary American painter, best known for his life-size representational paintings, which combine figurative subjects with symbolic textured abstract backgrounds. A form of social documentary, David’s paintings are often described as raw, poignant and profoundly honest, capturing humanity in its true form. As an artist, Kassan acts as an empathetic intermediary between the subject he portrays and the viewer. More than simply replicating his subjects Kassan seeks to understand them. He seeks to capture the essence of those he paints, imbuing them with their own voice.

David is a lauded realist painter who brings “Facing Survival” to USC Fisher Museum of Art following his residency with the museum and USC Shoah Foundation in 2018. Kassan’s works can be seen in many public and private collections worldwide. He is represented by Gallery Henoch (Chelsea), New York, NY and The Maxwell Alexander Gallery, Los Angeles. Kassan lives and works in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Brooklyn, NYC. His art has been exhibited at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, The National Portrait Gallery in London, The Scottish National Portrait Gallery, among others.

For exhibition programs, please see the museum’s calendar.

Press Release Facing Survival

Facing Survival | David Kassan presented by USC Fisher Museum of Art and USC Shoah Foundation and made possible with generous support from The Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation