This catalogue focuses on Robert Longo’s (born 1953) recent series of charcoal drawings of well-known Abstract Expressionist paintings. The original paintings are immediately recognizable, but it is the overlooked or imperceptible details of the complex surface, the tactility of the paint, the brushstrokes and the pattern of the canvas that Longo has made visible in his translation from color to black and white, paint to charcoal. Exploring his ambivalence toward painting, Longo’s drawings address the historical magnitude of Abstract Expressionism in art-historical and cultural contexts. Along with the Abstract Expressionist drawings, the book includes Longo’s enormous seven-panel drawing of the US Capitol building and a 17-foot high black wax– surfaced sculpture of an American flag that appears to collapse into or fall through the floor.
Published by Hatje Cantz. Text by Isabelle Graw, Robert Longo.
Stand was a 2012 site-specific installation by Robert Longo (born 1953) which fully utilized the unique architecture of the Capitain Petzel gallery in Berlin. The building was shrouded with an enormous monochrome depiction of the American flag. Upon entering the gallery, the viewer was immediately confronted with a large charcoal drawing. This was flanked by two drawings: one depicted a mass of Occupy Wall Street protesters; the other, a lone American soldier walking toward an uncertain and ominous future. With the consent of the artist, Longo also updated the style and content of Hans Haacke's Oelgemaelde, Hommage à Marcel Broodthaers (1982). He replaced Ronald Reagan, opposite an image of a crowd protesting the deployment of American missiles in Bonn, with President Obama, facing Tea Party protestors. The remainder of the gallery exhibited a group of 25 drawings and featured a performance based upon the classic American novel Moby Dick.
Robert Longo's mastery of charcoal drawing has made him one of America's most admired artists. With every new work he reinvests the tradition of history painting with fresh relevance and impact, rendering majestic, era-defining images in a sensuous and sculptural photorealism. Longo's sense of both literal scale and historical scope is monumental, as a survey of his numerous serial works soon reveals: the Freud Drawings cycle of 2000 with its large-format treatment of Edmund Engelmann's photographs of Sigmund Freud's Vienna apartment, taken days before Freud's departure for London; or the 2003 Sickness of Reasonseries, with its high-contrast images of atomic explosions, combining sublimity and terror; or the famous one-drawing-per-day Magellan sequence of the mid-1990s, a virtual atlas of the iconography of the 1990s, intermixed with images from Longo's immediate daily life. This handsome, chunky volume surveys Longo's drawings of the past two decades, from Magellan and the Freud cycle to Monsters (2000), Sickness of Reason (2003), Ophelia (2002), Beginning of the World (2007) and others. Robert Longo was born in Brooklyn in 1953 and received a BFA in sculpture from Buffalo State College in 1975. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Longo collaborated with musicians loosely associated with New York's No Wave movement, such as Glenn Branca, Rhys Chatham and Jonathan Kane, and formed the band Robert Longo's Menthol Wars. In the 1980s, as his Men in the City drawing series was winning him critical acclaim, Longo also directed several music videos, including New Order's “Bizarre Love Triangle” and R.E.M.'s “The One I Love.” In 1995 he directed the cyberpunk film Johnny Mnemonic, starring Keanu Reeves, Dolph Lundgren and “Beat” Takeshi.
Published by Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac. Edited by Alessandra Bellavita, Jill Silverman van Coenegrachts. Text by Jonathan T.D. Neil.
Dedicated to the three major monotheistic world religions, Robert Longo's God Machines drawing sequence depicts Mecca in Saudi Arabia, St. Peter's Basilica in Rome and the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. The drawings are enormous, and realized in the artist's widely admired ravishing chiaroscuro. This catalogue records their exhibition in Paris.
Published by Kerber. Edited by Klaus Albrecht Schroder and Martin Hentschel. Essays by Werner Spiess and Rainer Metzger.
On June 4, 1938, having paid the “German Reich Escape Tax” and the “Jew Property Tax,” Sigmund Freud left his apartment at 19 Berggasse forever. A few days before his emigration from Vienna to London, photographer Edmund Engelmann courageously and secretively recorded Freud's legendary residence, documenting it in photographs that were eventually published. An old volume of these photographs was presented to artist Robert Longo in 1993, acting as the catalyst and primary source material for the 30 large-size charcoal works that constitute The Freud Drawings. Via Longo's charcoal, Freud's deserted rooms become an admonition of a destroyed world, tension-filled reminiscences of a place both momentous and monstrous, eclipsed and strange.