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Hunter’s Iconic Sky Bridges Transformed By Conceptual Artist Robert Longo, Part of His American Bridge Project

The Hunter College Art Galleries and Department of Art & Art History presents the American Bridge Project, a monumental, political work by the legendary conceptual artist Robert Longo. Robert Longo is Hunter College’s Zabar Visiting Artist this Fall, where he’ll be working with MFA students and delivering a public lecture.

The project was installed on Thursday, August 31, on Hunter’s iconic sky bridges over Lexington Avenue at 68th Street. American Bridge Project coats the windows of Hunter’s third and seventh floor sky bridges, resulting in an immersive experience for viewers passing through, but also a powerful billboard-sized image visible from Lexington Avenue, both north and south of 68th Street.

On view from September 1 to December 1, 2017, this project will comprise Longo’s largest public artwork to date and will feature a reproduction on vinyl of two of Longo’s recent charcoal on mounted paper drawings.

“It is an honor to have an artist of Robert Longo’s stature as our visiting artist this semester,” said Hunter College President Jennifer J. Raab. “We are excited that as part of his residency, he’s created his largest public piece at Hunter College.” 

Longo’s installation of the third floor sky bridge is based on his 2017 charcoal on paper drawing, Untitled (First Amendment, September 25, 1789), a portrayal of the handwritten First Amendment. The rights to protest, to freedom of religion, and to freedom of speech are once again at the forefront of many of today’s American debates.  An enlarged handwritten text of the First Amendment reinstates humanity into the law, a reminder that a human hand wrote it.  Longo’s seventh floor sky bridge installation presents a cropped image of a charcoal on paper American flag drawing, Untitled (Berlin Flag, 2012), and was created by the artist in a dark, seductive chiaroscuro.

“Drawing has a unique intimacy of notation, which I have amplified to an Epic scale,” said artist Robert Longo.  “I hope to slow down images through the medium of drawing, to urge the viewer to consume the full power of each image. I am presenting images we see in media, images the viewer could easily scroll through on a phone. Rather, I am asking for the viewer to spend time, to really look.”

"Hunter College is one of New York's most ethnically and economically diverse schools, and positioned at the gateway to the Upper East Side," said guest curator Jill Brienza. "Since the beginning of my career, I've striven to organize shows that spur conversation, and I think in today's political climate, Robert's works will certainly do that."

Robert Longo, American Bridge Project is made possible by Artnet, Arthur and Carol Kaufman Goldberg, Metro Pictures, Barbara Nessim and Jules Demchick.

About the Artist
Robert Longo (American, b. 1953) is a New York-based artist, filmmaker, and musician. Longo moved to New York in 1977. The same year, Longo participated in a five-person show entitled Pictures—curated by Douglas Crimp at Artists Space in New York— the first exhibition to contextualize a young group of artists who were turning away from Minimalism and Conceptualism and instead towards image-making, inspired by newspapers, advertisements, film, and television. Over the next decade Longo became known as a leading protagonist of the “Pictures Generation,” working across drawing, photography, painting, sculpture, performance, and film to make provocative critiques of the anaesthetizing and seductive effects of capitalism, mediatized wars, and the cult of history in the US. Longo has been represented by Metro Pictures—the first New York commercial gallery to establish a market for the Pictures Generation artists—since they opened in 1980. He presented the Men in the Cities drawings that were to establish his name at his first solo show at Metro, in 1981. Since the 1990s, Longo has been pushing the limits of the charcoal medium, producing monumental, hyper-real charcoal on paper drawings on a scale that competes with that of sculpture.

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