Robert Longo's Storm of Hope: Law & Disorder To Go On View at Palm Springs Art Museum

  • PALM SPRINGS, California
  • /
  • June 16, 2021

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Robert Longo, Untitled (The Supreme Court Of the United States (Split)), 2018. Charcoal on mounted paper, 120 x 140 inches. Courtesy of the artist; Metro Pictures, New York; Jeffrey Deitch, Los Angeles; and Pace Gallery.

Palm Springs Art Museum will present Storm of Hope: Law & Disorder, an exhibition of recent works by American artist Robert Longo, from July 1, 2020 – February 6, 2022. The exhibition features seven monumental-scale charcoal drawings chronicling our time through critical, social, and political subjects. 

“The artist focuses our attention on images familiar to us—either found in the media or photographed by the artist himself—which he transforms to create what he calls ‘the perfect image,’” says Rochelle Steiner, the museum’s Chief Curator. “His visual language developed out of an acknowledgement of and reverence for the ubiquity of existing images—what the artist refers to as ‘the image storm’ that surrounds us.”

Since the 1980s, Longo has been associated with the Pictures Generation, a group of artists who looked to understand images as neither neutral nor objective, but rather with an inherent point of view that could be uncovered, revealed, and deployed as a form of critique and beauty.

Central to the exhibition are Longo’s monumental works representing the three branches of the US government: the Capitol, the Supreme Court, and the White House. Also included in the exhibition are four large-scale works that refer to issues of environmental reform, the representation of history through its monuments, the perils of immigration, and the fragility of the free press. The political aspects of Longo’s work have become increasingly pointed in recent years—with focus on power, justice, and humanity, through the perspective of rage and urgency.

Longo’s practice begins with identifying a subject of interest, and then searching for images which he studies, adjusts, transforms, and reimagines into large-scale drawings in charcoal. Although Longo’s images are so hyper-realistic that they are often mistaken for photographs, they could never exist as such. Longo considers his images to be more real than the source images on which they are based. Each work of art is the result of months of labor-intensive processes to plan, alter, perfect, and then execute these images. However, the results are closer to history paintings, not only in their massive scale—mounted on paper seamed together to total, in some cases, 12 feet tall—but also in their weighty subjects.

This exhibition is organized by Palm Springs Art Museum Chief Curator Rochelle Steiner.

For more information about Palm Springs Art Museum exhibitions, programs, and events, please visit psmuseum.org or call (760) 322-4800.


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