David Salle (b. 1952, Norman, OK; lives and works in New York, NY), was born in 1952 and raised in Wichita, Kansas. Salle attended California Institute of Arts (CalArts) in Los Angeles, receiving a B.F.A. in 1973 and an M.A. in 1975. A member of the influential Pictures Generation, Salle combines popular, or commercial imagery with images made from direct observation and a range of art historical references to create a personal pictorial language. His work features a sophisticated and highly intuitive approach to composition, one that suggests new associations and relationships between familiar (or un-familiar) subjects. Salle’s multi-layered works do not rely on subject matter alone, however—his paintings pack an immediate formal impact and present multiple points of entry for the viewer. Built to draw the eye through and across the picture plane, they reward close looking and prolonged contemplation.
Solo exhibitions of Salle’s work have been organized at the Brant Foundation, Greenwich, CT (2021); Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, France (2020); Galeria Javier Lopez & Fer Frances, Madrid, Spain (2019); Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga (CAC Málaga), Málaga, Spain (2016); Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, TX (2015); Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago, IL (2014); Metropolitan Opera House, New York, NY (2012); Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico (2000); Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung, Ludwig, Vienna, Austria (2000); Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Castello di Rivoli, Turin, Italy (2000); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (1999); and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain (1999). Select group exhibitions featuring his work include Every Picture Tells a Story, Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, NY (2018); Before/On/After: William Wegman and California Conceptualism, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY (2018); Zeitgeist, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland (2017); Fast Forward: Paintings from the 1980s, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2017); Third Space/Shifting Conversations About Contemporary Art, Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL (2017); Unfinished Business: Paintings from the 1970s and 1980s by Ross Bleckner, Eric Fischl, and David Salle, Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, NY (2016); America is Hard to See, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2015); This Will Have Been: Art, Love, & Politics in the 1980s, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA (2012); and The Pictures Generation, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY (2009).
In 1987, at age 34, Salle was the youngest artist ever to be honored with a mid-career survey exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. His work is in numerous international public and private collections including the Akron Art Museum, Akron, OH; The Albertina Museum, Vienna, Austria; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL; The Brant Foundation, Greenwich, CT; Eli Broad Family Foundation, Los Angeles, CA; The Broad, Los Angeles, CA; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; The Glass House, New Canaan, CT; Guild Hall, East Hampton, NY; Hall Art Foundation, New York, NY; Hamburger Bahnhof, Staatliche Museen, Berlin, Germany; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; Marieluise Hessel Collection, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY; Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel; Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles, CA; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humblebæk, Denmark; Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen, Germany; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI; Museo Carlo Bilotti, Rome, Italy; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University, Durham, NC; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO; Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, NY; Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR; Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME; Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL; The Saatchi Collection, London, United Kingdom; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Sansab Museum of Contemporary Art, Bangkok, Thailand; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA; Solomon R, Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom; Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, the Netherlands; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, KS; and the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT.
Salle is also a prolific writer on art. His essays and reviews have been published in Artforum, Art in America, Modern Painters, and The Paris Review, as well as in numerous exhibition catalogs and anthologies. An acclaimed volume of Salle’s collected essays, How to See, was published by W.W. Norton in October 2016.