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1993 Michael Davis Born: Jacksonville, Florida 1952 enamel and acrylic paint on reed and wood 29 7/8 x 18 1/2 x 13 3/4 in. (75.9 x 47.0 x 35.0 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Marcia Docter 1997.16 Not currently on view

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Topless is Michael Davis’s pun on the shape and the “situation” his piece presents. The piece resembles a child’s spinning top or a seedpod fallen from a tree. As if obeying some natural command, the pod has popped its top, sending out a whimsical little probe that appears to be scouting a good place to plant a seed. The applied wooden ornaments and saturated colors distinguish Davis’s work from the “pure” traditions that have dominated the art of basketry.


Object - toy - top

decorative arts

Crafts - Fiber

paint - acrylic

paint - enamel

plant material - reed


About Michael Davis

Born: Jacksonville, Florida 1952