PRINT March 2003

’80s THEN

David Salle

ROBERT ROSENBLUM: We should of course begin with the ’80s. But I’m interested in what happened to you before the curtain went up.

DAVID SALLE: I came to New York in 1975, after CalArts. I floundered around for a few years, happily. I loved being in New York.

RR: Your signature style is always so clear in the work we know that it’s hard to imagine what led up to it. What was it like before 1980?

DS: I had a show at Artists Space, in its original location on Wooster Street, in 1976, when Helene Winer was the director. The pieces were sort of protopaintings, on very large backdrop paper. They were tone poems: a word like CAMUS, an abstract paint element, and some drawn or photographic images mixed in—not all that different in spirit from what I found myself doing later, but different in appearance.

I did a couple of installation shows in Holland a bit later. One piece I’m still happy with, at

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