One striking, insightful, precarious pairing follows another in this frankly incredible group of paintings that Salle has managed to call in. Red stippling in a recent Walter Price echoes the gray atmosphere of an Edgar Degas; abstraction by Amy Sillman looks like a color negative of Albert Oehlen’s, or vice versa; and Martha Diamond, Willem de Kooning and Brice Marden all use wavering, expressive lines — to very different effects, if you think of their individual contexts, but as mere variations on a theme when they’re side by side.
Here is a chance to view 20th-century art and sculpture through the eyes of the artist David Salle. Born in Oklahoma, educated in California, Salle came to New York in the mid–70s. By the mid–80s he was known for his diptychs and triptychs—large, compartmentalized canvases that were conceptual and cinematic.
On a recent afternoon, at the two-story Hill Art Foundation in Chelsea, the collector J. Tomilson Hill and the artist David Salle stood in front of Salle’s Reliance (1985), a painting of a person, their arms bent a sharp angles, surrounded by a yellow field. To the right was a Rubens, the stoic Portrait of a Gentleman, Half-length, Wearing Black (1628–29). Across the way was Cecily Brown’s The use of blue in vertigo (2022) and Frank Auerbach’s Head of Julia (1985).
For a show opening at the Hill Art Foundation in New York on April 21, the artist David Salle has curated a selection of paintings and sculptures by 35 artists. Drawing on history-spanning works by the likes of Peter Paul Rubens, Francis Bacon, Salman Toor, and Cecily Brown, “Beautiful, Vivid, Self-contained” considers the role of juxtaposition in our experience of art. Below, read an excerpt from the essay Salle wrote for the show’s catalogue.
The writer Janet Malcolm once described David Salle’s paintings as “full of images that don’t belong together.” Since the 1970s, he has appropriated and remixed styles and iconography from a vast array of seemingly unconnected sources including commercial advertising, cartoons and old masters paintings. A new exhibition that Salle has organized at the Hill Art Foundation in New York, called “Beautiful, Vivid, Self-Contained,” is dedicated to the memory of Malcolm, who died last year.
Over the course of a three-decade career, Finch has worked in and across a range of media, consistently probing the complexities of vision—how we see and how we know what we see. His work is both extremely methodical and highly whimsical, and it draws almost equally on science and poetry. “Lux and Lumen: Spencer Finch,” a solo exhibition currently on view at the Hill Art Foundation, offers an opportunity not only to reflect on the persistent themes in his work, but also to glimpse some fresh investigations.
“Painting Air” fills a large gallery with hanging sheets of tinted glass that, in theory, duplicate light effects from Claude Monet’s garden in Giverny, France. But Finch’s duplication, however precisely calculated, barely calls to mind either the real garden’s light or a painter’s impression of it. As always, Finch’s artful science works both to bring the world into our midst and to distance us from it.
“Inebriate of air – am I,” wrote Emily Dickinson, and the same might be said of Spencer Finch. For the past thirty years, the cerebral American artist has been translating the evanescent conditions of specific locations—the climate, the color, the light—into exhilarating installations, paintings, drawings, and photographs that harmonize the systems-based rigor of Minimalism with the unpredictable beauty of the natural world.
In the group exhibition “No Forms,” on view at the Hill Art Foundation through July 15, the curator Margot Norton places a trio of Martin’s numinous works in a gratifyingly rangy conversation with recent pieces by seventeen female and gender-nonconforming artists, with an eye on restrained beauty and a slippage of categories. Paintings are sculptural (Dyani White Hawk’s exacting composition on canvas is rendered in shimmering beads), solid objects defy gravity (Agnieszka Kurant’s subtly magical “Air Rights”), and the deepest space here appears in 2-D (Tauba Auerbach’s bewitching trompe-l’oeil acrylic on paper). Ruby Sky Stiler vivifies the familiar Minimalist trope of the grid—and thumbs her nose at the movement’s rule of no figures allowed—in her effervescent, mosaic-like portrait, “Father and Child”.
“Pictures of Beasley’s grandfather’s trailer, blown up and printed across still more T-shirts, cover two of the pieces on view at “A body, revealed,” another show of the artist’s work, running through the end of April at Manhattan’s Hill Art Foundation. In a way, these resin-treated tees reconstruct the mobile home, sold off years ago, inside the gallery — a place and its former occupant unearthed by their absence.”
“People of refinement have a disinclination to colors,” Goethe argued in an 1810 treatise on chromatic perception. That’s as good a justification as any for the three shows, all excellent, quite unalike, staged so far at this private foundation. Last year we saw the paintings and photography of Christopher Wool (black, white, gray) and the sculptures of Charles Ray (silver, aluminum); now the Hill turns to Minjung Kim, a South Korean artist whose painstaking, profoundly beautiful ink paintings deploy, in the main, a muffled palette of grays and blacks.”
“Andy Hall: You opened the Hill Art Foundation a year ago. Has it changed the direction of your collecting?
Tom Hill: After doing the Christopher Wool show—which he curated—I saw his work in a different light. As a result, I pursued additional pieces, and we now have the largest collection of his works. But the show also gave me more perspective. The same thing happened with the Charles Ray show, for which Charles juxtaposed his work with Renaissance and baroque bronzes of both pagan and Christian themes. I literally bought another religious bronze because of it.”
“The installation is a lesson in withholding: there are only nine pieces included over the two floors, with every wall-mounted object given its own wall and each sculpture in the round provided its own generous floor space. As a result, we can draw quite close to objects that would more often be seen sharing cases with others.”
“Bright and early on a recent Saturday, Charles Ray, the Los Angeles sculptor, stepped out of the Four Seasons Hotel, and walked west on Fifty-seventh Street. Ray, who is sixty-six, was in town for the opening of a show at the Hill Art Foundation, in Chelsea. At the luxuriously spare nonprofit space, his enigmatic sculptures—a life-size aluminum mime stretched on a camping bed, a sterling-silver mountain lion about to maul a dog, an apple core wrought in gold—were presented alongside Renaissance and Baroque bronzes, among them three Christs, which were selected by the artist from the collection of the hedge-fund billionaire J. Tomilson Hill and his wife, Janine. The curatorial gambit threw into relief the solemn, even spiritual quality of Ray’s pieces, which can take fifteen years to complete.”
“It’s not a museum; it’s an art foundation,” says Hill, who, as a board member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and former chair of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, knows the difference. “A museum implies permanence and a higher scholarly framework. This is about our taste and our objectives around education. This is personal. It’s about what I like.”
“What especially struck Hill was the correlation—an unconscious influence, perhaps—of Barthélemy Prieur’s 16th-century bronze Lion Devouring a Doe had on Ray’s 2018 sterling-silver sculpture Mountain lion attacking dog. Hill, who purchased the Prieur work from the collection of Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza, realized that Ray could be fit for the task of curating a show placing works like these side-by-side. Both pieces will feature in the forthcoming exhibition.”
“After making layered, silk-screened floral patterns in the 1990s, Mr. Wool became more gestural; three extraordinary paintings here from the 2000s, with cloudy spray-gun loop-de-loops and merciless erasures, exhibit a simultaneous love and doubt of abstraction that recalls the best of Albert Oehlen. His enthrallingly difficult later silk-screens cannibalize his own archive, discordantly remixing earlier works and treating paint as both material and information.”
“You don’t wake up with expertise in any given area or field. You have to read. You have to look. You have to go. You have to see the exhibitions. You have to talk to the dealers. You have to talk to the museum people. And you have to understand what you like.”
“This is a sensational show…They mix their statuettes with paintings and other works old and new, and Ms. Allen has superbly juxtaposed them here in a wonderfully clean installation, free of both vitrines and the works’ small bases, called socles. But the big news is that this is the first time late-20th-century paintings have hung in the Frick.”
“I thought it would be great, in New York City, where I was first exposed to art, to share my collection with the public, to allow visitors to see how I think about art, how I juxtapose pieces, as I do in my homes. While the foundation is totally personal, it is about sharing.”
“The space, with free admission, is to be open during the week (at hours to be determined) and on Saturdays, when Chelsea galleries typically get the most traffic. Mainly, Mr. Hill wants to have more of what he owns on view. “He has great things,” said the dealer Matthew Marks, from whom Mr. Hill recently purchased a Robert Gober sculpture that will permanently reside in the new gallery.”