Artist Walter Robinson immortalizes appetites and desires in his work, painting beer, blue jeans and burgers, magazine models and pulpy paperback romances. Known as the founding editor of Artnet magazine, where he worked from 1996 until 2012, Robinson has been a habitual chronicler of the New York art world. He first flirted with success as an artist in the 1980s, making nurse paintings before Richard Prince and spin paintings before Damien Hirst. But, then, he stopped making art. Over the past few years he has returned to painting and, today, we talk to him about his many lives.
“In Other Words” is a presentation of AAP and Sotheby’s, produced by Audiation.fm.
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Charlotte Burns: Hello and welcome to In Other Words. I'm your host Charlotte Burns and today we have Walter Robinson in the studio. Walter Robinson: Hi, Charlotte. Charlotte Burns: Walter, you've had many lives. You were the founding editor of Artnet. You had a great deal of recognition as an…
The New York City-based artist Walter Robinson first emerged in the 1970s when he began painting pulp romance imagery. He exhibited with the legendary Colab collective; he was associated with the Pictures Generation; he showed in the fabled Times Square exhibition of 1980. His work was sold by Metro Pictures and he was part of the then burgeoning East Village scene. He copied pulpy images to paint nurses before Richard Prince did; he made spin paintings before Damien Hirst.
Robinson also co-founded Art-Rite magazine and became news editor of Art in America Magazine in the 1970s. He later served as the East Village Eye’s art editor during the 1980s.
Then, in 1986, Robinson stopped making art. He was the founding editor of Artnet Magazine from 1996 until 2012. Robinson has also been a columnist for Artspace, where he coined the term “Zombie Formalism” in 2014.
After a successful installation of his early works at Metro Pictures in 2008 (“80s Paintings“), Robinson began showing his works more regularly, including the noteworthy exhibition “Walter Robinson: A Retrospective” at Jeffrey Deitch in 2016 and “Walter Robinson: The Americans” at Vito Schnabel Gallery in 2017.
Charlotte Burns is the editor of In Other Words, our weekly newsletters and podcasts. She was previously the US news and market editor for The Art Newspaper, as well as a regular correspondent for publications such as the Guardian and Monocle. Previously, she worked with the London dealer Anthony d’Offay on special projects. For several years, she was a consultant at the cultural communications agency, Bolton & Quinn. She also worked at Hauser & Wirth in London.
Burns received a Masters degree (with Merit) from the Courtauld Institute in Art and Cultural Politics in Germany, 1890-1945, as well as a first-class B.A. honors degree in English and History of Art from Birmingham University. She moved to New York in 2010.
The live record
Walter Robinson’s Portfolio
For more on Walter Robinson
“Sies Marjan, the Fashion Label Beloved by Beyoncé, Unleashes a Collaboration With Artist Walter Robinson in Miami” in artnet News (2017)
“A Tangle of Relationships and Art” in The New York Times (2017)
“Walter Robinson, Artist, Is Feted in Basel for Upcoming Show at Vito Schnabel Gallery” in Artnews (2017)
“Walter Robinson: ‘I’m just a stupid painter. We’re like dumb horses'” in The Guardian (2016)
“Gone for Three Decades, Walter Robinson Returns as an Artist” in Paper Mag (2016)
“Walter Robinson” in Art in America (2016)
“Artist-Critic Walter Robinson on Painting Desire in a Been-There, Done-That Age” in Artspace (2014)