David Salle

I met Jim sometime in the early ’80s—Peter Schjeldahl brought him around to a show of mine. He seemed curious about younger painters. I had grown up knowing his work but really saw it in depth at the Whitney retrospective in 1986, which was dazzling. I was seeing a lot of the things for the first time, and I remember thinking how different the work felt from the way it had been encapsulated in the official version, partly because you saw only certain works, in reproduction. You saw only the classic paintings, never the really nutty ones with constructions and neon, or with the plastic bag full of paint tied to a string hanging from a stretcher bar. In person, you saw that the range of his work was wide, experimental, and risky. He was willing to take even a very thin idea all the way to its conclusion. He didn’t always need imagery; he could make a painting out of very little.

Jim has a

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