David Salle will open Ariel and Other Spirits, an exhibition presented in conjunction with the Met premiere of Thomas Adès's The Tempest, at the Arnold & Marie Schwartz Gallery Met on September 25. Salle has created a suite of paintings and watercolors for the show, which relate to both Adès's opera and the Shakespeare play. Ariel and Other Spirits will be on display in Gallery Met through January 12. The Tempest, conducted by the composer and directed by Robert Lepage, opens October 23.
Salle, who the New Yorker's Janet Malcolm has called "the leading American postmodernist painter," immersed himself in both Adès's music and Shakespeare's poetry while creating the works for this show. Salle's large-scale paintings are often characterized by the juxtaposition of disparate images, an approach that is evident in Ariel and Other Spirits. In addition to painting, Salle has also designed sets and costumes for many ballets and operas, including several prominent collaborations with the choreographer Karole Armitage; these works have been performed at venues in America and Europe, including the Metropolitan Opera House, the Paris Opera, and the Brooklyn Academy Of Music.
"I decided to concentrate on one or two images from the play: the tempest itself-the storm and shipwreck and its aftermath-and the strange, moody island full of spirits," Salle said. "I was interested in the jumpy, changeable, spirits-flying-through-the-air kind of feeling that I found in the play-and the music."
This is Salle's first solo show at Gallery Met. His work was also seen in the group show Heroines (2006), the gallery's inaugural exhibition.Dodie Kazanjian, curator of Gallery Met since its inception, felt that Salle was an ideal choice for a show based on The Tempest.