Robert Longo was born in 1953 in Brooklyn, New York, and from a young age, had a fascination with mass media. Unsure of his future career, Longo studied sculpture under Leonda Finke, who encouraged Longo to pursue art. He briefly studied in Florence before graduating from Buffalo State College. While still in school, Longo helped to co-found an Avant Garde gallery called the Essex Art Center, which later became the Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center. Soon after graduation, Longo moved to New York City to join the burgeoning community of artists living in 1970s New York.
Longo rose to fame with his iconic Men in the Cities series of drawings and prints. Longo photographed his friends dressed in sharp formalwear on the rooftops of buildings and on city streets, capturing their surprised and dramatic poses in response to objects being thrown at them. Longo would then enlarge the photographs with a projector and converted them to drawings, adapting them into black and white, and occasionally exaggerating the poses for additional dramatic effect. Longo’s circle of friends featured people who would become art world celebrities, such as Cindy Sherman and Larry Gagosian. With the overnight success of the series, Longo created a set of prints with similar subject matter soon after.
Longo’s works are featured in major museum and private collections across the world. He continues to create new art, and was recently featured in a major exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum.