David Robbins American

Not on view

Has Jeff Koons ever looked so earnest? Here, he and other rising stars of the 1980s art scene appear as fresh-faced young go-getters, straight out of central casting. To make this work, Robbins sent his friends to the Times Square studio of James Kriegsmann, Jr., an entertainment photographer famous for his headshots. Playing the agent, Robbins booked their studio sessions, managed payments, and selected favorite frames. Trading art-world angst for the cheery self-assurance of Broadway hopefuls, Talent turns the traditional portraiture of tortured artistic genius ironically on its head. A comedic master of middle-class vernaculars, Robbins has elsewhere interrogated ice cream socials and infomercials. Here, his joke has a bitter edge, implying that the art market commodifies makers as well as their work.

Talent, David Robbins (American, born 1957), Gelatin silver prints

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Installation View: Pictures, Revisited (October 19, 2020–May 9, 2021)