Robert Longo (born January 7, 1953) is an American painter and sculptor.
became famous in the 1980s for his
"Men in the Cities" series, which illustrated sharply dressed businessmen writhing in contorted emotion.
Robert Longo was born in 1953 in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Long Island.
had a childhood fascination with mass media: movies, television, magazines, and comic books, which continue to influence his
Longo began college at the University of North Texas, in the town of Denton, but left before getting a degree.
later studied sculpture under Leonda Finke, who encouraged him to pursue a career in the visual arts.
In 1972, Longo
received a grant to study at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, Italy.
Upon his return to New York, Longo enrolled at Buffalo State College, where he received a BFA in 1975.
In college, Longo
friends established an avant garde art gallery in their co-op building, the Essex Art Center
, which was originally a converted ice factory; the gallery became Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center
gallery efforts, Longo
met many local and New York City artists.
eventually moved to New York City to join the underground art scene of the 1970s.
studied sculpture, drawing remained Longo's favorite form of self-expression.
However, the sculptural influence pervades his
drawing technique, as Longo's "portraits" have a distinctive chiseled line that seems to give the drawings a three-dimensional quality.
uses graphite like clay, molding it to create images like the writhing, dancing figures in his
seminal "Men in the Cities" series.
Working on themes of power and authority, Longo
produced a series of blackened American flags ("Black Flags" 1989-91) as well as oversized hand guns ("Bodyhammers" 1993-95).
From 1995 to 1996 he
worked on his
"Magellan" project, 366 drawings (one per day) that formed an archive of the artist's life and surrounding cultural images.
had major retrospective exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
in 1989 and the Museum of Contemporary Art
, Chicago in 1990, and a touring exhibition throughout Japan in 1995.
goes back into the drawing, using graphite and charcoal to provide "all the cosmetic work".
continues to work on the drawing, making numerous adjustments until it is completed about a week later.
The process of making a lithograph is equally involved.
Studio assistants do the basic work, a practice that has a long precedent in classical art.
In the 1980s, Longo directed several music videos, including New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle", Megadeth's "Peace Sells" and "The One I Love" by R.E.M.
is responsible for the front covers of Glenn Branca's The Ascension from 1981 and The Replacements' 1985 album Tim, while his
work has inspired others such as Circlesquare's
music video "Dancers".
also directed the cyberpunk movie Johnny Mnemonic, starring Keanu Reeves, Dolph Lundgren and Takeshi Kitano, and a short film named Arena Brains.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s Longo developed a number of performance art theatre pieces, such as "Marble Fog" and "Killing Angels", collaborating with Stuart Argabright and the guitarist Chuck Hammer.