Skarstedt presents David Salle: Ghost Paintings, featuring 14 works made in 1992, but never exhibited before this year. Curated by Arts Club of Chicago Director Janine Mileaf, the exhibition travels from that venue, where it was seen in summer 2013. It will be on view at Skarstedt (20 East 79th Street) from November 8 through December 21, 2013.
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The Ghost Paintings are made from large photographic images printed on three contiguous linen panels. The “subject” of the photograph is that of a woman creating improvised movements under a large piece of fabric. The three horizontal panels are then painted over with fields of intense color. The series represents the canvas surface of painting at three levels: as a photographic subject (the fabric in the dancer’s hands), as a readymade ground (the linen imprinted with photographic emulsion), and as a traditional surface for the application of paint. The Ghost Paintings concretely merge painting, photography, and performance to produce mysteriously imagistic works in the best innovative spirit of postmodernism.
Salle (b. 1952), who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY, is known for his crucial role in the formulation of postmodernism. He helped to reestablish painting as a central force in the 1980s, after a decade dominated by photography and new media. Salle’s reintroduction of painting took into account those vanguard media precedents. Designated an “enfant terrible” early in his career, Salle has survived the vagaries of the marketplace to maintain his position as a compelling artist with a sustained interest in the relations between painting and cinema. Salle is known for his layered paintings of culturally specific images and provocative subject matter, and his work is often mistakenly thought to depict only found imagery.
In the Ghost Paintings, all of the photographic excerpts derive from live movement events that Salle staged specifically for the camera, working with his longtime model Beverly Eaby, and then transposed onto canvas. His mixture of bold color fields combined with staged improvisations has escaped attention until now. To Salle, the series epitomizes an ongoing engagement with the performative nature of painting itself.
Since 1975, David Salle has had solo exhibitions at The Kitchen, NY; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Institute of Contemporary Art; Philadelphia; The Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; The Menil Collection, Houston; Staatsgalerie moderner Kunst, Munich; Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao; and Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover. He has also exhibited with several of the leading gallerists for contemporary art, among them Mary Boone, Larry Gagosian, Leo Castelli, Michael Werner, and Bruno Bischofberger. His works are in the collections of numerous museums including the Art Institute of Chicago; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY; LACMA, LA; MCA Chicago; The Museum of Modern Art, NY; Nationalgalerie, Berlin; The National Gallery, Washington, D.C.; The Saatchi Gallery, London; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate Gallery, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, which includes a discussion between the artist and Hal Foster, an essay by Janine Mileaf, and documentation of Salle’s early performance work.