Robert Longo is an amazing artist from New York.
When I was studying art at school I accidentally stumbled across his work. It’s not that he was hard to find, but in those pre-internet days research was obviously only as broad as your available resources. Robert Longo wasn’t really in the Pop Art, Renaissance, Impressionist spectrum offered by the school.
I knew when I found Robert Longo I was on to something. His charcoal drawing series Men in the Cities (1979-83) set me off. His work is one of those steps of meaning that defines who you are today. In hindsight, what he did for me was institute and provide a foundation for my own aesthetic.
(From there it was New York where, in series of more fortuitous innocent steps, I discovered Gordan Matta Clark and his penchant for carefully destroying buildings. But that’s for another time.)
Robert Longo was something else. I didn’t know that his contorted images of businessmen and women were a “comment on contemporary afflictions and anxieties”. I just knew they looked awesome, learning later that they stood at nearly two and a half metres tall, their shear scale only further impressing me.
So this is not so much an art review or even a book review (Robert Longo’s prolific life as a painter, sculptor and filmmaker is now available in the Skira Rizzoli published monograph) but a short memoir and reminiscence of the things we often forget that make us who we are today.
Check out his new self titled tome (written by Caroline Smulders and Gilbert Perlein) at Metropolis Bookshop or where good books are sold.