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David Salle (born 1952) is an
American painter and leading contemporary figurative artist.
Salle was born in Norman,
Oklahoma. He earned a BFA and MFA from the California Institute of the
Arts, where he studied with John Baldessari. Salle’s work first came to
public attention in New York in the early 1980s.
His paintings comprise what
appeared to be randomly juxtaposed images, or images painted on top of
each other with deliberately ham-fisted paint handling. His subject
matter tended toward the popular, the gratuitous, and the pornographic,
and was combined in ways that appeared deliberately incomprehensible.
His work was called "cynical", "calculating", and "cold".
In the next few years he and his
contemporaries — termed postmodern — achieved a succès de scandale with
He also turned his hand to set and costume design, photography, and
directing mainstream cinema.