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David SalleGhost Paintings

Past exhibition

David Salle: Ghost Paintings

About the Exhibition

The Arts Club of Chicago is pleased to announce David Salle: Ghost Paintings, featuring selections from a series of previously unexhibited works made in 1992 by an artist known for his crucial role in the formulation of postmodernism. David Salle (b. 1952), who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY, 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, however, took intelligently into account those vanguard media precedents. The Ghost Paintings show photographic images printed on linen, of a woman creating improvised movements with a large piece of fabric, that have been overpainted with horizontal fields of intense color. The series thus represents the canvas of painting at three levels: as a photographic subject (the fabric in the dancer’s hands); as a readymade ground (the linen imprinted with photographs) and as a traditional surface for the application of paint. Moreover, Ghost Paintings strategically merges painting, photography, and performance to produce mysterious and lively works in the best innovative spirit of postmodernism.

Early designated an “enfant terrible” for his rapid ascendancy in the art market of the 1980s, 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. Having studied at the California Institute of the Arts with John Baldessari in the 1970s, Salle began his mature career with performance and video work that has yet to be acknowledged. Better known for layered paintings of culturally specific images and provocative subject matter, Salle’s work is often mistakenly thought to depict only found imagery. Instead, as in the Ghost Paintings, nearly 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 approach to painting itself as a performance.

The exhibition is accompanied by a full-color catalogue, which includes a discussion with the artist and documentation of his early work in performance. It is curated by Arts Club Director Janine Mileaf.

About the Artist

Since 1975, David Salle has had solo exhibitions at The Kitchen, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; 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; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao; and Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover. He has also exhibited with several of the finest gallerists for contemporary art, among them Mary Boone, Larry Gagosian, Leo Castelli, Michael Werner, and Bruno Bischofberger. His works are in the collections of museums including the Art Institute of Chicago; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; LACMA, Los Angeles; MCA Chicago; MoMA, New York; Nationalgalerie, Berlin; The National Gallery, Washington, DC; The Saatchi Gallery, London; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate Gallery, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.