Salle’s New Scenes

NEW YORK — David Salle insists he’s not being coy when he claims he knows nothing about the way the art market functions."I honestly know very little about the art world," he says, adding, "It seems to be quite large. There can be...

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Asked the cynical question of whether he’s switched dealers for the publicity value, Salle replies, "I can’t imagine that anyone thinks an artist does anything for that reason. The artist-dealer relationship is very personal."

Boone is also downplaying the significance of Salle’s homecoming. "David and I have a great chemistry," she says. "I love showing his work. David had a lot to do with forming my sense of aesthetics and what’s important in painting."

She says she will continue to work with Salle as long as "the relationship is healthy and vital and moving forward."

The relationship wasn’t always so healthy, however. In 2000, Boone filed court papers accusing Salle of refusing to consign his work to her after he agreed to do so and accepted a $500,000 advance. "I don’t really think I have ever sued him," she says. "If anything, there was one time that there was a problem and it wasn’t anything."

According to Salle, "That was just a matter for lawyers. It’s nothing between friends."

Salle, who references popular culture and kitsch, creates multipanel works that often contain a jarring juxtaposition of styles. His new series, which will be on view at the Mary Boone Gallery in Chelsea at 541 West 24th Street from Jan. 11 - March 1, consists of paintings composed of three or four panels. According to the artist, the work is a marked departure from the last series he produced.

As it has in the past, Salle’s new paintings play with images, their scale and their perspective. But the new series is more painterly, full of figures and still lifes. For example, a row of panels on one painting contains the rendering of a man or woman, clothed or unclothed in each panel. Across this lower row of figurative panels floats a long, rectangular one in which other images such as flowers, still life objects or landscape references jostle for space. The panels drift across abstract backgrounds such as constellations in the sky, stripes or wave patterns.

"The paintings are a culmination of past work," says the artist. "I’ve been painting the figure always and painting still lifes for the last four or five years. Basically, I’ve been developing or, hopefully, deepening my relationship to a certain painterly translation. I think these paintings represent what I know to date about that translation process."
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