Robert Longo

March 26, 2009

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I was watching the film ‘American Psycho’ when i first spotted the work or Robert Longo. It was the part of the film where Christian Bale was about to murder an innocent women with a nail gun, when i spotted a huge photograph of a business man in the oddest posture. His body was twisted in such an odd shape with his tie flailing in the air, i though i had to know who took this picture. After hours of googleing ‘American Psycho Photo, American Psycho Painting etc i finally found Robert Longo. Born in Brookyn January 7th 1953, Robert Longo is a painter , photographer and sculptor. His work is heavily influenced by mass media, music and film.

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He became widely known for his series of portraits of sharply dressed business men withering in contorted agony named ‘ Men in the city’. Longo’s portraits have a distinctive chiseled line that seems to give the drawings a three-dimensional quality . Inspired by film stills and New Wave music, Longo began his Men in the City series by photographing his friends, both in groups and individually on the rooftop of his apartment building. He allegedly threw objects like tennis balls and rocks at his subjects, and pulled their bodies with ropes, which caused them to jump, twist and contort their bodies into stressful and often violent poses. I think this streak of madness makes Robert Longo a definite influence on my work.

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Longo would capture these movements with his camera, enlarge the images using a slide projector, and trace over them with charcoal and graphite. He would later add drama and glamour to his drawings by replacing the models’ jeans and t-shirts with work attire or cocktail dresses, or by suspending a man’s tie into mid-air. Longo hoped that these works would be shown together, but they mostly stand alone as dynamic statements of urbanity 1980s style.

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