In Celebration of the Opening of the Whitney’s New Downtown Home and the Eighty-Fourth Anniversary of the Empire State Building

The Whitney Museum of American Art will partner with the Empire State Realty Trust on a one-of-a-kind, one-night-only Empire State Building lightshow on Friday, May 1, 2015, marking two historic occasions: the opening day of the Whitney’s new Renzo Piano–designed building in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District and the eighty-fourth anniversary of the Empire State Building.

The Empire State Building and the new Whitney (white building in foreground to the right of the Empire State Building). Photograph by Timothy Schenck

The Empire State Building and the new Whitney (white building in foreground to the right of the Empire State Building). Photograph by Timothy Schenck

Focusing on twelve iconic works from the Whitney’s collection (Georgia O’Keeffe, Music Pink and Blue No. 2, 1918/Edward Hopper, Railroad Sunset, 1929/Chiura Obata, Evening Glow of Yosemite Fall, 1930/Mary Ellen Bute, Synchromy No. 4: Escape, 1937–1938/William H. Johnson, Blind Singer, c.1942/Mark Rothko, Untitled (Blue, Yellow, Green on Red), 1954/Jasper Johns, Three Flags, 1958/Andy Warhol, Flowers, 1970/Elizabeth Murray, Children Meeting, 1978/Peter Halley, Blue Cell with Triple Conduit, 1986/Barbara Kruger, We Don’t Need Another Hero, 1987/Cory Arcangel, Super Mario Clouds, 2002), lighting designer Marc Brickman will interpret pieces by these artists, utilizing the Empire State Building’s LED tower lights to create a dynamic show. Beginning at 8 pm on Friday, May 1, each of the twelve artworks will be showcased for thirty minutes, with the light show ending at 2 am on Saturday, May 2. Most of the works that inspired the light show will be on view at the Whitney as part of the new building’s inaugural exhibition, America Is Hard to See (May 1–September 27, 2015).

To kick off the celebration, a lighting ceremony will take place at the Empire State Building for invited media and guests on May 1. John B. Kessler, President and Chief Operating Officer of Empire State Realty Trust; Adam D. Weinberg, the Whitney’s Alice Pratt Brown Director; Donna De Salvo, the Whitney’s Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Programs; and some of the artists whose work will be interpreted in the light show will jointly flip the “switch” and light the building in celebratory colors.

A special viewing for Museum visitors will be held on Friday, May 1, from 8 pm until 10 pm, at the Whitney’s new building at 99 Gansevoort Street, which has stunning views of the Empire State Building from its four, east-facing terraces. The artworks can also be viewed online at whitney.org/ESB, and on May 1, an online slideshow will be synchronized to the lightshow, so that viewers throughout the city can look at the Empire State Building and the art works in real time.

We’re thrilled to see these incredible works from the Whitney’s collection interpreted on one of the most iconic buildings in the world—one that has been the subject of many an artist’s work,” said De Salvo. “We can’t imagine a more spectacular way in which to signal the opening of our new building and celebrate the art and artists of the United States.Continue reading

New Works from David Salle at Skarstedt Chelsea, April 30-June 27, 2015

Skarstedt will present an exhibition of new work by American artist David Salle at their Chelsea gallery featuring all new work from two recent series: the Late Product Paintings and the Silver Paintings. David Salle: New Paintings will be on view at Skarstedt Chelsea (550 West 21st Street) from April 30 through June 27, 2015.

David Salle, Faster Healing, 2014, oil and acrylic on linen with pigment print (inkjet print and ink transfer) 77 x 96 inches (195.6 x 243.8 cm.)

David Salle, Faster Healing, 2014, oil and acrylic on linen with pigment print (inkjet print and ink transfer)
77 x 96 inches (195.6 x 243.8 cm.)

David Salle’s new paintings are characterized by both immediacy and complexity; their vibrant color and highly energized, dynamic compositions display a marked evolution from his most recent exhibition, Ghost Paintings, shown at Skarstedt’s Upper East Side gallery in 2013. Salle’s Late Product Paintings can be seen as both revisiting and providing an extension to his 1993 series, Early Product Paintings, in which flatly painted backgrounds of collaged product advertisements were the stage upon which present-tense painting operations were carried out.

Salle’s Late Product Paintings bring this premise to a much fuller, performative, and masterful resolution. Exploring the intangible relationships between subjects, Salle’s images float in a fragmented world of poetic simultaneity. Drawing images from a variety of sources, Salle combines them into paintings as one would create a collage. Though often surprising, his connections are never forced; they have a non-programmatic, improvised quality, and they arrive at a place of buoyant equilibrium. Speaking to William Powers in the catalogue’s text, Salle says of his use of collage, “I want the differences to show, but to somehow be resolved anyway. It’s symphonic. Sometimes I like to think of myself as a kind of orchestrator.” Indeed, many of Salle’s paintings seem to have an implied soundscape—he expertly juxtaposes a visual depiction of the first few bars of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet

David Salle This is the Fun (2014-2015)

David Salle This is the Fun (2014-2015)

with a fragmentary drawing of hands on a Pan’s pipe; a vacant cartoon speech bubble waiting to be filled might be juxtaposed with the implied whirring sound made by a kitchen garbage disposal, or the clinking of glasses, or the sound of words uttered to oneself.

The overarching theme of the Late Product Paintings is the nature of presentation itself—the way things, images, and gestures capture and hold our attention, and the kinds of unseen and unspoken decisions and conventions that govern how we create a relationship with an image. These paintings reach a dynamic synthesis, or mash-up, of advertorial iconography. Referencing literary methodology, Salle points to the ‘free indirect style’—a term coined by critic James Wood to describe Flaubert’s authorial omniscience—as a way of describing his own interest in keeping multiple narrative strands in play within a singe painting. He also alludes to the way that popular image culture has inflected our way of seeing over time, with many images seemingly excavated from the 1960s. Without recourse to nostalgia, such era-specific imagery gives the paintings a sense of the elasticity of time—as something that can be tightened or loosened—an awareness that is woven into the conceptually tight, spatially elastic compositions.

Among painters, Salle has long been acknowledged as a sophisticated and daring colorist; in these new pictures he uses as many as three distinct color palettes in the same painting, making them coalesce into shimmering, vibrant, and luminous fields. In addition to their luminescent color, the Late Product Paintings are characterized by a vertiginous, yet highly organized composition that contains both tight and loose passages in counter-point. They have a cascading sense of gravity— images of loosely stacked crackers spilling downwards, milk pouring from an overturned glass, figures running or falling through space, and textual or musical fragments wrapping around the back of the canvas all work to create a sense of the plasticity of pictorial space on the paradoxically flat surface. Continue reading