Frozen in ice … buffeted by the forces of modern urban entropy … brawling … or just dancing? (The answer is all of the above.) Robert Longo’s Men in the Cities drawings, which were first shown at Metro Pictures in 1981, are a productive mixture of directness and inscrutability. “Iconic” is an overused and often misused word these days; nevertheless, Longo’s stark, large-scale, charcoal and graphite drawings of well-dressed men and women, their bodies contorted by (or creating) an unseen, anarchic energy, are as close to iconic images of the early 1980s (from the vantage point of New York City, at least) as one could ask for.
Like all highly-memorable images, the success of the Men in the Çities series became something of an impediment for Longo but, like Roy Lichtenstein before him, he got through it by continuing to work in black and white, graphic media and in series but varying the content.
Robert Longo is also a member of the X-PATSYS.
ART OF THE 1980s
1980 – Cindy Sherman
1981 – Robert Longo