Robert Longo is an American artist, filmmaker and musician. He is known for his photorealistic drawings that address the role of politics and power in society.
At first glance, the large-format charcoal drawings seem like photographs. Longo’s renderings of American flags and breaking waves are astonishing in their realistic portrayal of the subject. In his work, sharks and tigers appear ready to leap out off the page.
In terms of subject matter, Longo tackles the iconography of power and dominance. His works are as likely to show untamed nature as fragments of American culture.
In his famous Black Flag series, Longo puts his spin on the stars and stripes, his various depictions touching on themes of power, patriotism, and identity. The reinterpretation of his flag, a white on white silkscreen, is a unique standout in an already exceptional body of work.
Robert Longo was born in New York in 1953 and studied Art at Buffalo State. In the 1970s, Longo and artist friends including Cindy Sherman and Nancy Dwyer founded the Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center in Buffalo. Longo’s art has been exhibited in museums all around the world including the Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as Moscow’s Garage Museum of Contemporary Art. He lives with his wife, German actor Barbara Sukowa, in New York.