Oral history interview with Robert Longo

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.longo09
Creators:
Longo, Robert
Richards, Judith Olch
Dates:
2009 January 30-31
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
4 Items
sound discs (4 hr., 54 min.) Sound recording
digital
91 Pages
Transcript
Repository:

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
An interview of Robert Longo conducted 2009 January 30-31, by Judith Olch Richards, for the Archives of American Art, at Longo's studio, in New York.
Scope and Contents
Longo speaks of his Italian heritage, his family and growing up in Long Island, New York; the role magazines, television, and movies played in artistic inspiration; his dyslexia; his interest in sports and music in high school; moving to Denton, Texas to attend the University of North Texas before being expelled; moving back to New York and enrolling in Nassau Community College; traveling to Italy to study art history, where he discovered his desire to become an artist; attending Buffalo State University where he met Charlie Clough, Michael Zwack, and Cindy Sherman, with whom he created Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center; Robert Irwin, Sol LeWitt and Vito Acconci's involvement with Hallwalls; moving to New York City with Cindy Sherman to begin their careers as artists; working at The Kitchen and his performance pieces of the period; the child-like, punk, and corporate influences and the process of creating his "archetypical" Men in the Cities series; his relationship with Gretchen Bender; the formations of Metro Pictures gallery by Helene Winer and Janelle Reiring; the Combines, sculptures, music videos, and short films created in the 1980's and their mixed reception and mixed success in the difficult art market; his works cast in aluminum and metal; his first retrospective held at the LA County Museum of Art in 1989 and feeling lost in his own work; creating "bad art" in the process of attempting sobriety; black flag imagery and his success in Europe, which served as inspiration to move to Paris for several years; meeting his wife, Barbara Sukowa, a German actress; how having children changed his perspective and how they act as antennae to the world; his directorial role of the 1992 film, "Johnny Mnemonic"; and the slow progression, and continuity, of imagery in different bodies of work from the mid-1990's through the present, including the Magellan series (drawings of 366 different images), Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud's offices, and series of waves, bombs, roses, planets, sleeping babies, and sharks. Longo also recalls Leonora Fink, Phil Malkin, Rick Zucker, Les Krims, Troy Brauntuch, Jack Goldstein, Paul McMann, David Salle, Matt Mullican, Diane Shea, Alanna Heiss, Kasper Konig, Konrad Fischer, Brooke Alexander, Dominic Ranieri, William Gibson, Keanu Reeves, Emilio Mazzoli and others.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Robert Longo (1953- ) is a painter and sculptor in New York, New York. Judith Olch Richards (1947- ) is former executive director of iCI in New York, New York.

Administration
Existence and Location of Copies
Transcript is available on the Archives of American Art's website.
Author
Sponsor
Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.

General
General
Originally recorded on 4 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 5 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hr., 54 min.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Dyslexia Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sculptors -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
France -- Paris -- Description and Travel Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Italy -- description and travel Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Acconci, Vito, 1940- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Alexander, Brooke Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bender, Gretchen, 1951-2004 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Brauntuch, Troy, 1954- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clough, Charles, 1951- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fink, Leonara Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fischer, Konrad Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gibson, William Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Goldstein, Jack, 1945-2003 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Heiss, Alanna Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Irwin, Robert, 1928- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
König, Kasper Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Krims, Leslie Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
LeWitt, Sol, 1928-2007 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Malkin, Phil Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mazzoli, Emilio Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
McMann, Paul Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mullican, Matt, 1951- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ranieri, Dominic Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Reeves, Keanu Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Reiring, Janelle Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Salle, David Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Shea, Diane Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sherman, Cindy Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sukowa, Barbara, 1950- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Winer, Helene, 1946- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Zwack, Michael, 1949- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hallwalls (Museum) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Los Angeles County Museum of Art Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Metro Pictures (Gallery) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nassau Community College -- Students Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
State University of New York at Buffalo -- Students Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
University of North Texas -- Students Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/