"I honestly know very little about the art world," he says, adding, "It seems to be quite large. There can be so many people involved that I couldn’t possibly keep up with it if I wanted to."
It’s hard to believe that Salle, one of the key art stars of the Eighties, could be so naive. After all, he’s shown considerable business savvy many times during his career. Maybe the fact that it’s the second day of the new year accounts for his momentary lapse.
In any case, Salle, who sounds shy and modest over the telephone, has a knack for stirring controversy. His latest move is bound to generate some waves in the insular art community. Salle recently left the Gagosian Gallery for the Mary Boone Gallery, an event in the art world that’s almost akin to James Carville announcing he’s joined the Republican party.
"I’ve basically shown with both of them since the beginning of my career and I’m basically good friends with both of them," Salle says.
Salle chocks up his decision to mount his first gallery show in New York in two years with Boone to little more than wanting a change of scene. "Because these are new works, I want to present them in a new context," he says. "I’ve worked with both Mary and Larry [Gagosian] for so long. Mary is a great dealer. She has a wonderful sense of integrity for representing work in which she believes."
Another reason for Salle re-joining Boone is that the dealer also represents Eric Fischl and Ross Bleckner. "These are people I went to school with," says Salle. "It’s a reuniting of old friends. It’s a very intimate, very warm context."
The artist was quick to add that there’s "nothing negative about the other context. I have with a long and personal relationship with Eric Gagosian," Salle says. "Those things just don’t come to an end."