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Untitled (White Riot )

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charcoal, graphite and ink on two paper panels
96 x 120 in. (243.84 x 304.8 cm)

About This Artwork

Graphic and authoritative, Robert Longo’s drawings have the unique ability to capture a zeitgeist, while remaining simple in subject and material. This simplicity is deceptive, however. Longo’s use of charcoal and graphite is bold, and the grand scale of the work is often powerful and filmic, even with minimal narrative. His subjects are what they appear to be, but they also hint at something other, something ominous below the surface. For Untitled (White Riot), from the Men in the Cities series, Longo photographed his dressed-up friends (including artist Cindy Sherman on the right) as they danced wildly under the fire of loud sounds and tennis balls. His charcoal renderings of the photographs take only the figures, dislocating their bodies in space and exaggerating their torqued and tangled poses.