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Robert Longo; American painter and sculptor. Longo became a rising star in the 1980s for his Men in the Cities series, which depicted sharply dressed men and women writhing in contorted emotion.
Born Jan. 7, 1953, in Brooklyn, NY, and raised in Long Island. He had a childhood fascination with mass media: movies, television, magazines, and comic books, which continue to influence his art.
He began college at the University of North Texas, but left before getting a degree. He 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. While at Buffalo State, he studied under, and was likely influenced by art professor Joseph Piccillo. At this time he was associated with artist Cindy Sherman, who was also studying art at Buffalo State.
...Although he 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. Longo uses graphite like clay, molding it to create images like the writhing, dancing figures in his seminal Men in the Cities series....
As a consequence, in his 30s, Longo was among the most widely publicized, exhibited and collected artists of the 1980s along with the likes of Cindy Sherman and David Salle. However, several critics have commented that Longo had lost his way as a visual artist by the mid-'80s.
...His photorealistic charcoal drawings were featured in the exhibition "Proof" at the Brooklyn Museum in 2017 alongside works by Goya and Eisenstein.