The Whitney Museum of American Art hosted a book launch on 10 October for David Salle’s How to See, a “trenchant and light-on-its-feet collection of critical essays and less-targeted musings about art, artists, fame, and, if you read it closely enough, what it’s like to have been David Salle for all these years”, in New York magazine’s estimation. The evening began with Salle holding court onstage, with artists like Alex Katz and Clifford Ross in the audience, fielding prompts from associate curator Jane Panetta.
Among the revelations: Fairfield Porter, the painter and critic, was always Salle’s model for writing. “There’s a reason why few artists have taken up the job,” he said. “Writing just takes enormous amounts of time. It’s a lot of time out of the studio. So much so that Per Skarstedt, my dealer, has politely suggested that maybe I don’t have to do it any more.”
This is partly why Salle, who writes about art for publications like ARTnews and Town & Country, said he only likes to do positive reviews. “It’s much easier to write a bad review than a good one,” he said, “It’s much easier to write something you have bad feelings about, you feel like you’re unmasking something. I’m not interested in unmasking anything because,” he sighed very Salle-like, “who cares?”