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David Salle (American, born Norman, Oklahoma, 1952)
Four gelatin silver prints with affixed color advertisements
61 x 50.8 cm (24 x 20 in.) each
Purchase, Jennifer Saul Gift; Vital Projects Fund Inc. Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel; and The Robert A. and Renée E. Belfer Family Foundation Gift, 2008
Not on view
For this early work, Salle cast four women he knew to pose at their respective kitchen windows as if lost in thought. The labels pasted beneath them represent things not in the pictures but for which we have to take the artist’s word. While unremarkable today, this placement of women in a domestic setting would have been seen during the heyday of feminism as casually and ironically retrograde—an early indicator of the kind of offhanded flouting of politically correct pieties that would soon bring the artist great controversy. In contrast to the gray cast of the women’s humdrum suburban existences, the garish, brightly colored labels of their preferred coffee brands seem to jump out of the pictures with all the graphic punch of Ed Ruscha’s Pop paintings; the ability to choose among arbitrarily differentiated consumer goods, the artist might be implying, has come to stand in for true freedom in the postwar era.
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