November 11, 2018–October 6, 2019
Picture is a two-part thematic exhibition featuring important recent acquisitions of paintings by David Salle and Photorealist artists. In 2004, Salle was commissioned for Museo Carlo Bilotti, Rome, to address a single subject: the Sistine Chapel. In three monumental paintings—After Michelangelo, The Creation; After Michelangelo, The Flood; and After Michelangelo, The Last Judgment (2005–2006)—the artist upends the source material by juxtaposing figures depicted in Michelangelo’s paintings with vignettes and illustrative images of objects from modern times and recent history. In The Flood, Salle updates the biblical story of the deluge in the book of Genesis with references to natural disasters including the 2004 tsunami in Asia and Hurricane Katrina. In The Last Judgement, figures from Michelangelo’s fresco are overtaken by images of doom and destruction: missiles, Satan, and a scythe-wielding personification of death. The paintings were gifted to the Museum by Margaret S. Bilotti.
Photorealism paintings, in which ready-made images are used in the service of often abstract narratives, provide a provocative context to the conversation about representation and imagery. New acquisitions by Tom Blackwell and Bertrand Meniel introduce a dialogue about the relationship of interior and exterior space that mirrors the Parrish’s architectural design, while paintings by Ron Kleemann, Yigal Ozeri, Charles Bell, and Audrey Flack balance complex composition with suggested narratives. In Blackwell’s Morning Walk, Hampstead High Street, London (2011), the viewer looks into a store window at two inanimate figures and sees reflections of people and cars on the street, thus creating a visual doubling that creates a dialogue between inside and outside. Meniel’s Breakfast at the Fairmont (2009) depicts grand urban architecture contrasted with archetypal images of the natural world—mountains and the sea. This concept is underscored in the Parrish architecture, where broad panes of glass, slit windows, and skylights encourage visitors to sense the connection of art to nature.