Robert Longo – Men In The Cities

Robert Longo Men Fighting

I’m not a huge collector of art, and my spartan walls will certainly attest to that fact, but every so often I find an artist that creates a painting or drawing that not only catches my eye, but that also makes me re-consider my gulag inspired bedroom walls. Robert Longo is one of those artists, and though I only found out about his work recently, he’s managed managed to impress me in short order.

This collection, titled Men In the Cities, features a number of men and women being knocked around by invisible forces, probably within a city. Also, they may all be men, even the people who look like women. It’s not a sure thing, but the title certainly leads me to believe this. Now, who or what is beating them up, I couldn’t say, and at this point I’m starting to wonder if perhaps they’re all imagining it, in a Fight Club or American Psycho sort of way. If nothing else, the charcoal and graphite drawings DO remind me of American Psycho. I can’t say why exactly, but I believe it has a lot to do with the way that everyone is dressed, and the fact that everyone is acting rather crazy.

Men In The Cities


Men fighting frames

Man, what a violent city, and not just for the men… the women are clearly getting in on the action too. The question is why, and perhaps more importantly, why does the man on the left look like Tony Montana?

Woman dancing

I’m not exactly sure what’s going on here, but I think that this lady is either dancing, or practicing for her lead role as a zombie. As with much of Robert’s work, I love the extremely heavy contrast.

Dancing man Robert Longo

Ok, this guy is definitely dancing. Given that these drawings were created in 1979, perhaps Robert was prophesying the rise of hipsters? The glasses… the cardigan… the fellow is straight out of an American Apparel advert.

Man hanging by Tie by Robert Longo

I’m wrapping up this post with my favorite of the bunch, a man being held up by his tie. I love the imagery, and the amount of detail that Robert managed to infuse into the piece with just the use of black and white is might impressive.

If you’ve enjoyed seeing Robert Longo’s work, there’s plenty more for you to see on his official website. If nothing else, I highly recommend viewing his exhibit on a particular pair of excellent looking boobs. He calls the set Balcony, and I think you’ll enjoy his efforts in representing the pair from all sorts of angles.


  1. Duke Newcombe says

    I first discovered Longo and the “Men in the Cities” series in 1993, a few years after having moved to NYC in my early 20s. Like you, I was impressed with what still today appears almost disturbingly prophetic in his stark yet grotesque vision of the rats writhing in the race of the upwardly mobile in the 1980s.

    P.S. I have always shared your affection for the guy who looks like he’s being yanked up and strangled by his own power tie. Definitely my favorite.

    • Chad says

      Hey Duke,

      Thanks for the reply. I agree, Robert’s work is fantastic. As a person who recently left his job, this collection in particular really resonated with me.

  2. Patrick says

    Longo actually took friends of his, men and women to rooftops and threw things at them while taking pictures. He then did life size or larger than life charcoals of those pictures. All of the figures are reacting naturally in their limited environment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment Rules: Keep it civil, and please do not use your site URL in either your name or the comment text. Please instead use your own name, initials, or handle, as the the former comes off as spam. Thanks for adding to the conversation!