Robert Longo’s Ode to Abstract Expressionism

NEW YORK—Robert Longo has created unique experience for fans of Abstract Expressionism. “Gang of Cosmos” at Metro Pictures features 15 charcoal drawings, Longo’s renditions of recognizable works from 1948 to 1963 by well-known artists.

In an artnet video about “Gang of Cosmos” and “Strike at the Sun,” a concurrent exhibition on view at Petzel Gallery, Longo explains the inspiration for the Metro Pictures show. In the 19th century when artists had their work photographed for books they would make black-and-white copies of their own paintings to be photographed. He views the collection he created as an extension of that process.

Works by Willem de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner, Franz Kline, Norman Lewis, Joan Mitchell, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Ad Reinhardt, Mark Rothko and Clyfford Still are represented in “Gang of Cosmos.”

Longo got permission from the artists to re-create their work. He says the only one he didn’t get a nod from is Kline and that work is not for sale.

Over the past 30 years, Longo’s has pursued a range of mediums. According the Metro Pictures, his works “invent, cull, and recycle iconographic images from an expansive cultural visual cache to comment on ideas surrounding image potency, production and circulation.”

“Gang of Cosmos” is on view at Metro Pictures from April 10 to May 23, 2014.

All photos by Arts Observer

“After Mitchell (Ladybug, 1957),” 2013 (charcoal on mounted paper).

Installation view.

Detail, ode to Norman Lewis.

From left, “After Krasner (Birth, 1956),” 2014 (charcoal on mounted paper) and ode to William de Kooning.

From left, An ode to William de Kooning and “After Newman (Onement, I, 1948),” 2014 (charcoal on mounted paper).

Installation view. Ode to Jackson Pollock.


“Study after Motherwell (Elegy to the Spanish Republic, No. 70, 1961),” 2013 (ink and charcoal on vellum).

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