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Acrylic on bedsheet painting of two pulp romance characters looking off into the distance by Walter Robinson

Walter Robinson

The Drifting Sands, 198
Acrylic on bed sheet
96h x 66w in (243.84h x 167.64w cm)
© Walter Robinson, courtesy the artist and Vito Schnabel Gallery; photo by Argenis Apolinario

Walter Robinson’s art is formed of paint applied to patterned bedsheets, depicting everything from lovers embracing and glammed-up 50s starlets to fists full of dollars and a chiselled-jawed hunk with a gun. It’s textbook US pop: the lipstick of Lichtenstein and the fabric re-appropriations of Rauschenberg, smattered with an odd, disembodied sense of nostalgia. But for anyone well-versed in art historical lineage, it’s Robinson: as well as being an artist in his own right, he served as news editor of Art in America magazine from 1980 to 1996, and as founding editor of Artnet magazine from 1996 until 2012. “You could say that my writing career was a long study in thinking about art. But the art itself comes from somewhere else; it’s a whim, not a calculation,” he says. “You can’t find a more self-conscious artist or a nicer art critic.” As his new exhibition, The Americans, opens at the Vito Schabel Gallery in St. Moritz, we sit down with eloquent painter to find out more about the surprisingly seductive power of his art, the influence of pulp romance paperbacks and the beguile of bedlinen.

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