New York

David Robilliard, Too Many Cocks Spoil the Breath, 1987, acrylic on canvas, 39 1/2 x 59 1/8".

David Robilliard

Ortuzar Projects

WELCOME TO MY OPENING. Outwardly polite, the announcement takes on a cheeky second meaning when rendered by the late British artist and poet David Robilliard. Daubed in childlike dirty-yellow capital letters on a small framed sheet of paper, it ushered us into his first New York solo exhibition in nearly thirty years and immersed us in the queer London milieu that he inhabited throughout most of the 1980s. Championed by Gilbert and George, who anointed him “the new master of the modern person,” Robilliard pursued a disarming combination of image and text that found its most distinctive expression in his “poem-paintings.” A selection was on view here along with works on paper and archival ephemera, all deliciously bittersweet as ever.

A quintessential Robilliard poem-painting juxtaposes the simplified outlines of faces or figures with the briefest of texts, the tone of which ranges from

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