David Salle’s 'Ariel and Other Spirits' Opens Sept 25 at Gallery Met

September 14, 2012

The American artist’s exhibition coincides with
the Met premiere of Thomas Adès’s opera "The Tempest"

New York, NY (September 14, 2012)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.

“David’s recent work has a freshness and immediacy, coupled with a highly literary intelligence I felt could respond in interesting new ways to this Shakespearean theme,” Kazanjian said. “He also knows music and has a special feeling for the work of Thomas Adès.”

Gallery Met, located in the south lobby of the opera house, is open to the public Mondays through Fridays from 6 p.m. to the end of the last intermission and Saturdays from noon to the end of the evening performance’s last intermission. Admission is free and no appointments are required. Gallery Met is closed on Sundays.

The Tempest premieres October 23 in a new production by Robert Lepage, with Adès conducting a cast that includes Audrey Luna as Ariel, Isabel Leonard as Miranda, Iestyn Davies as Trinculo, Alek Shrader as Ferdinand, Alan Oke as Caliban, William Burden as King of Naples, Toby Spence as Antonio, and Simon Keenlyside as Prospero.

For more information on the Met’s contemporary visual arts initiatives, which are organized by Dodie Kazanjian, please visit


About Gallery Met

            The Arnold & Marie Schwartz Gallery Met, located in the opera house lobby’s south side, is a showcase for the contemporary works of art that reaffirms the company’s long history of relationships with major visual artists. Gallery Met, directed by Dodie Kazanjian since its inception in 2006, is made possible through an initial $1 million donation by Marie Schwartz, an Advisory Director on the Metropolitan Opera’s Board.

            Gallery Met opened in September 2006 with Heroines, an exhibition of works inspired by the 2006-­07 season’s new productions. The artists represented included Cecily Brown, George Condo, John Currin, Barnaby Furnas, Richard Prince, David Salle, and others. Gallery Met’s first solo exhibition, Stage Fright by Argentine artist Guillermo Kuitca, kicked off the 2007-08 season, followed by Hansel and Gretel, featuring artists from The New Yorker and the contemporary art scene.  The works, based on the Brothers Grimm story, were on display during the run of the new production of Humperdinck’s fairy tale opera.  In conjunction with the Met premiere of the Philip Glass opera Satyagraha during the 2008-2009 season, Gallery Met exhibited 18 portraits by Chuck Close of his composer friend in the exhibition Chuck Close Philip Glass 40 Years. That summer, Gallery Met presented eight portraits by Francesco Clemente in an exhibition called The Sopranos. The exhibition featured portraits of the divas who figured prominently in the Met’s 2008-09 season, with a hardcover catalog of Francesco Clemente: The Sopranos available in bookstores. Also in 2008-9, Gallery Met presented a solo exhibition by Canadian artist David Altmejd, coinciding with the premiere of John Adams’s opera Doctor Atomic, followed by the exhibition From the Met to the Met: Anselm Kiefer and Wagner’s “Ring”. In the first collaboration between the Metropolitan Opera and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Wagner-inspired works by contemporary artist Anselm Kiefer were shown to coincide with the revival of Otto Schenk’s production which was making its final run at the opera house. The 2009-10 season opened with the Tosca-inspired exhibition Something About Mary, which showcased works about Mary Magdalene by 14 contemporary artists including Paul Chan, Marlene Dumas, Kiki Smith, George Condo, and John Currin. In 2010, William Kentridge’s Ad Hoc: Works for The Nose opened at Gallery Met in conjunction with the Met premiere of Shostakovich’s The Nose in a production directed by the artist. Last season, a four-artist series of works inspired by Der Ring des Nibelungen opened with Notations After the Ring by Julie Mehretu and continued with Elizabeth Peyton’s Wagner, Peter Doig’s Siegfried + Poster Project, and Dana Schutz’s Götterdämmerung.