“Men in the Cities”

Robert Longo, Untitled from “Men in the Cities.” c. 1981-87. Charcoal, graphite and ink on paper.

Not all ‘pop art’ is Campbell soup cans and comic book icons – here Robert Longo shows us the darker ‘hipper’ side of the New York social scene – drawing on film noir and punk rock, his series “Men in the Cities” deliver life size portraits of spastic youths: writhing and dancing or being gunned down? It’s James Dean meets Joey Ramone with a mafia twist. Longo pays homage to a counter culture bathed in street light and even his method is telling – the frozen moment of a photograph transferred and fixed in a medium that is dark like asphalt. Yet this tracing is even reminiscent of a crime scene chalk outline from one of the films Longo idolizes. And truly, what goes around comes around – anyone remember the early iPod adverts? Stick a pair of earbuds in this guy and this starts to look strangely familiar… (Original post to Instagram October 28, 2012.)


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