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PRINT November 2004

GOOD HUMOR MAN: DAVID ROBBINS’S “ICE CREAM SOCIAL”

FOR SEVERAL YEARS NOW, DAVID ROBBINS’S standard biographical note has begun with a similar sentence: “David Robbins has had more than thirty solo exhibitions in the United States and Europe, and participated in many group exhibitions.” And judging from his recent work, that would seem to have been enough. Robbins made a name for himself in the mid-1980s with a series of conceptual works that used the New York art world itself as material for comedy, as in The David Robbins Show, 1986, and The Art Dealers’ Optical Tests, 1987. Most penetrating of all, his seminal 1986 piece Talent comprised eighteen portraits of New York artists (Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Jenny Holzer, et al.) in the form of eight-by-ten-inch, black-and-white promotional headshots. His success garnered many invitations to exhibit in Europe, and between 1988 and 1995, Robbins lived what he amusingly describes today as “a

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