Men in the Cities
Date 1981
Medium Charcoal and graphite on paper
Dimensions 243.8 x 152.4 cm
Inventory ID UID 102-343
Robert Longo studied at the University of North Texas in Denton, then at Buffalo State College, before returning to New York. According to him, the American public was perpetually fascinated by photographs of dead creatures and people in the act of dying; when films and television first emerged, they rendered a stylized version of such images. In order to produce the Men in the Cities series of drawings (1979–83), a reference to action cinema, Longo directed his models as actors: he placed them on rooftops, and photographed them at the moment of losing their balance. Starting with photographs projected in large format, he produced his figures using a process of montage and rotation. ‘My drawings are like sculptures, when I draw with graphite I smudge it with my fingers, move it around physically’, he said. He used this medium for its sensitivity: ‘When you look at some of the drawings, I believe that there’s a real physical and personal relationship to the viewer’. He directed the film Johnny Mnemonic (1995). J-FC