Friday, October 21, 2016

Book Review: David Salle’s ‘How to See,’ a Painter’s Guide to Looking at and Discussing Art

By Dwight Garner
Patricia Wall/The New York Times
“So many poets have the courage to look into the abyss,” Kenneth Koch wrote in an appreciation of the French poet and diplomat Saint-John Perse, “but Perse had the courage to look into happiness.” The painter David Salle, in his new book “How to See: Looking, Talking and Thinking About Art,” goes bravely in search of happiness, too. His quarry is aesthetic bliss. He stalks it through museums and galleries on both coasts as if he were David Attenborough tracking a curious swan. Mr. Salle’s mission in “How to See” is to seize art back from the sort of critics who treat each painting “as a position paper, with the artist cast as a kind of philosopher manqué.” Mr. Salle is more interested in talking about nuts and bolts, about what makes contemporary paintings tick. [link]

David Salle. Credit Robert Wright for The New York Times