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David Salle (born 1952) is an American painter who helped define postmodern sensibility by combining figuration with a varied pictorial language of multi-imagery. Major exhibitions of his work have taken place at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Castello di Rivoli (Torino, Italy), and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. In March 2009 a group of fifteen paintings were shown at the Kestnergesellschaft Museum in Hannover, Germany. That same year Salle's work was also featured in an exhibition titled The Pictures Generation curated by Douglas Eklund at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York , in which his work was shown amongst a number of his contemporaries including Richard Prince, Sherrie Levine, Cindy Sherman, Nancy Dwyer, Robert Longo, Thomas Lawson, Charles Clough and Michael Zwack.
Salle was born in Norman, Oklahoma. He earned a BFA and MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, where he studied with John Baldessari. Salle’s work first came to public attention in New York in the early 1980s.
His paintings comprise what appear to be randomly juxtaposed images, or images painted on top of each other with deliberately ham-fisted paint handling. At a 2005 lecture, Salle stated:
When I came to New York in the 70s, it was common not to expect to be able to live from your art. I had very little idea about galleries or the business side of the art world. It all seemed pretty distant. When people started paying attention to my work, it seemed so unlikely that somehow it wasn't so remarkable. I made my work for a small audience of friends, other artists mostly, and that has not really changed. At the same time, having shows is a way of seeing if the work resonates with anyone else. Having that response, something coming back to you from the way the work is received in the world, can be important for your development as an artist. But you have to take it with healthy skepticism... I still spend most days in my studio, alone, and whatever happens flows from that.
David Salle also turned his hand to set and costume design, and to directing mainstream cinema. In 1986, Salle received a Guggenheim Fellowship for theater design, and in 1995 he directed the feature film, Search and Destroy, starring Griffin Dunne and Christopher Walken . He is a longtime collaborator with the choreographer Karole Armitage as he designs sets and costumes for many of her ballets .
David Salle currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
- Smith, Roberta, "How David Salle Mixes High Art and Trash", review of David Salle mid-career retrospective, The New York Times, January 23, 1987. Retrieved 2011-1-16.
- Smith, Roberta, "Tweaking Tradition, Even in Its Temple", review of John Baldessari show, The New York Times, October 21, 2010 (October 22, 2010 p. C21 NY ed.). Retrieved 2010-10-22.
- Voices of Experience: David Salle, ART + AUCTION, September 2005, retrieved 2008-04-17
- David Salle Studio Website
- David Salle in the "Pictures Generation," the Metropolitan Museum of Art
- David Salle at Mary Boone Gallery
- David Salle at Lehmann Maupin Gallery
- David Salle at The Saatchi Gallery
- David Salle at Baldwin Gallery
- David Salle at Gerhardsen Gerner, Berlin/Oslo
Additional information on David Salle including artworks, text panels, articles and full biography