Sunday, May 03, 2015


David Salle Pink Field, 2013. Courtesy of the artist and Skarstedt, NY.
Art copyright David Salle, liscensed by VAGA, NY repost of my article.

After the last dumpster it filled with the remains of Loris Gréaud’s show at the Dallas Contemporary, there will be room for something we can look forward to seeing. That is, of course, the works by David Salle and Anila Quayyum Agha.

David Salle was one of the first artists I identified with when I became aware of the greater art world. On more than one painting I attempted to copy his style before looking for my own voice. I came across his work in a contemporary art class as an undergraduate and then I continued to research and look for his work in museums and gallery exhibitions. Unfortunately for me I have see very little in person by Salle, so i am extremely excited that the Dallas Contemporary has shown the wisdom to bring him to us. On April 9th, Thursday, he is going to be here to give a talk and I am seriously thinking of skipping my day job just to go hear him. David Salle’s paintings remix most of the late 20th century art into single art pieces. For Salle, originality is a myth and one can only reshuffle the iconic artists’ styles and pay homage to their images. Thus he creates something new with his montage paintings. I can imagine Salle thinking about Alex Katz when painting some of his washed out portraits of women. Paintings of bodies pressed to canvas are clear references to Franz Kline. His abstract areas reference much of the development of artists working like Jackson Pollack. However, these easy references are not completely copied but stylized from the source. Much like the Baroque artists looked to the Renaissance artists for style and form, Salle looks to late Modern for his. So does just about every other artist these days, at least Salle is deadpan straightforward about his use of the recent past.

Anila Quayyum Agha is another great catch for the Dallas Contemporary. She was the first artist to win both prizes of the Artprize out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. And for good reason, that piece, titled Intersection, is simply amazing and I can’t wait to see it installed at DC. Intersection is the type of work that makes a room not just a room but an experience. Anila Quayyum Agha is originally from Pakistan so some of the geometric iconography from Islamic culture runs through this work. A light emanated from the center and the shadow of the patterns reflect on the wall. I hope the DC will have a few of her drawings and paintings as well.

I failed to mention that Nate Lowman will also be showing, but I am deeply skeptical that his work will inspire anything but more of the same shallow market art that is so prevalent at art fairs nowadays. Lowman’s reloaded Pop has been historically soulless and his use of irony is pretty weak. Yet, I could be pleasantly surprised, so I will cross my fingers and hope Lowman has something thoughtful and interesting to offer for Dallas. This group of three artists will show at the Dallas Contemporary starting on April 9th and run through August 23rd.

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