Collected by Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner

Solo en Inglès

Listen to this audio guide of selected works in the exhibition, Collected by Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner, co-organized by the Whitney and the Centre Pompidou. 


David Robbins (b. 1957), _Talent_, 1986. Eighteen gelatin silver prints. Sheet and image 10 x 8 (25.4 x 20.3) each. Edition no. 100/100. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; promised gift of Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner; promised gift of Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner. P.2011.347.1-18 © David Robbins

Narrator: David Robbins titled this work Talent.

Elisabeth Sussman: It’s multiple photographs that are hung on the wall of a group of artists who were having their start then.

Narrator: As you look at the work, you’ll see that it includes a number of young artists who are now very well-known, such as Cindy Sherman, Jeff Koons, and Jenny Holzer.

Elisabeth Sussman: You'd have artists who were running galleries, and artists who showed at multiple spaces. There was a sense of community. He's taken head shots of them. He's taking them in the most banal way.

Narrator: The title suggests that there is some irony in these artists’ apparent earnestness.

Elisabeth Sussman: They are being seen at this point in the '80s as being picked up by an expanding art market, who saw not only the art itself, but these personalities behind the art and these personalities, aka the artist, become aka “talent.” It's kind of a fusion of the earnest, young artist in New York, plus them at their most innocent moment and them at their most—what can I say? They're kind of giving into this idea that they are going to be, as personalities, as interesting as their art is.