“If John Berger’s Ways of Seeing is a classic of art criticism, looking at the ‘what’ of art, then David Salle’s How to See is the artist’s reply, a brilliant series of reflections on how artists think when they make their work. The ‘how’ of art has perhaps never been better explored.” Salman Rushdie
How does art work? How does it move us, inform us, challenge us? Internationally renowned painter David Salle’s incisive essay collection illuminates these questions by exploring the work of influential twentieth-century artists. Engaging with a wide range of Salle’s friends and contemporariesfrom painters to conceptual artists such as Jeff Koons, John Baldessari, Roy Lichtenstein, and Alex Katz, among othersHow to See explores not only the multilayered personalities of the artists themselves but also the distinctive character of their oeuvres.
Salle writes with humor and verve, replacing the jargon of art theory with precise and evocative descriptions that help the reader develop a personal and intuitive engagement with art. The result: a master class on how to see with an artist’s eye.
David Salle’s paintings are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery in Washington, DC, the Los Angeles County Art Museum, Tate Modern, the National Galerie Berlin, and many others. He lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
Part I How to Give Form to an Idea
The How and the What Alex Katz 15
A Modern-Day Action Painter Amy Sillman 23
Painting with Its Own Megaphone Christopher Wool 27
The German Miracle: The Work of Sigmar Polke 35
The Heart Is Not a Metaphor Robert Gober 43
The Good Student Albert Oehlen 51
A Guy Named Frank Dana Schutz 57
Change Is Hard Roy Lichtenstein 65
The Art of Childhood: Jeff Koons at the Whitney 75
John Baldessari's Movie Script Series 85
The Success Gene: Wade Guyton and Rosemarie Trockel 91
Part II Being an Artist
Vito Acconci: The Body Artist 99
The Petite Cinema of John Baldessari 105
Karole Armitage and the Art of Collaboration 117
The Camera Blinks 123
Old Guys Painting 129
The Grapplers: Marsden Hartley, Philip Guston, and Clyfford Still 139
Urs Fischer: Waste Management 143
Clinging to the Life Raft Jack Goldstein 153
The Art of Mike Kelley Sad Clown 159
Frank Stella at the Whitney 165
Provincialism without a Capital: The Art of Thomas Houseago 171
The Art of Appropriation Frederic Tuten 175
Part III Art in the World
André Derain and Courbet's Palette 183
Picabia, C'est Moi 193
Baby's Giant Bean 199
Lovely Music: The Art of Barbara Bloom 205
Structure Rising 211
Piero Della Francesca 223
Part IV Pedagogy and Polemics
The '80s-What Were They Good For?
A Lecture Delivered at the Milwaukee Museum of Art 229
A Talk for the First Day of Class 237
Art Is Not a Popularity Contest: A Commencement Address Given at the New York Academy of Art, 2011 249
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