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1000 WORDS: DAVID SALLE

MICHELANGELO IS A TOUGH ACT TO FOLLOW—and pinch-hitting for Andy Warhol probably isn’t much easier—yet these were precisely the challenges presented to David Salle when Roman art collector Carlo Bilotti recently asked him to execute a commission on the theme of the Sistine Chapel (a recast version of an unrealized Bilotti project once slated for the Pop master). Salle, who splashed on to the scene twenty-five years ago with a brazen brew of postmodern pictorial eclecticism and New York School–scale, capital-P Painting, would seem a natural fit for such an epic return to art history, having spent the past three decades developing a distinctive painterly vernacular in which preexisting imagery is deployed in lyrical, allover compositions. Typically the juxtapositions of disparate images in Salle’s works destabilize our deep-seated visual habits and undermine traditional narrative, but in

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