Robert Longo Blew Me Away at The Brooklyn Museum

Proof: Francisco Goya, Sergei Eisenstein, Robert Longo September 8, 2017 – January 7, 2018

Untitled (after Mitchell, Ladybug, 1957) 2013, charcoal on mounted paper


I was at the Brooklyn Museum and dutifully considering the important pictures and histories, the artists’/museums’ role in raising social and political issues, “proof”, facts, when…


A rabbit popped out of a hat with “Ladybug” and all my polite attention vanished. What do I care about pussy hats, icebergs melting, refugees, racial injustices and terrorism?

Longo made a charcoal drawing that trompe l’oeiled a Joan Mitchell painting (that I didn’t even know I had memorized and didn’t realize that I loved) into startling life— and it appeared to me in color.

How’d he do that?


(detail) “Untitled (after Mitchell, Ladybug, 1957)” 2013, charcoal on mounted paper


(detail) “Untitled (after Mitchell, Ladybug, 1957)” 2013, charcoal on mounted paper



“Today, at a time of intense debate about the role of the artist—and museums—in raising serious social and political issues and effecting change, Proof demonstrates art’s power to encourage viewers to carefully consider important pictures and histories. As the exhibition title suggests, Goya, Eisenstein, and Longo together provide proof—or evidence—not only of certain facts, but also of how art invites us to see in new ways.” — Introductory Wall Text at The Brooklyn Museum


For a much more sensitive, complex and complete review

Riot Material, Arabella Hutter von Arx, Oct 6, 2017


For an interview with Robert Longo about the show:

Terence Trouillot in artnetnews