new-york

Robert Longo

Metro Pictures

Robert Longo’s new wall-mounted sculptures are nominally abstract, but they retain a halo of figuration. They recall his previous pieces, the now-familiar representations of unhappy bodies and ferocious technologies. It is possible to locate these works within the recent trend of abstraction-as-representation—as the bearer of referential and historical import—a trend perhaps most notoriously exemplified by Peter Halley’s paintings. Longo makes obvious reference to both ’50s abstract painting and ’60s Minimalist sculpture. In Black Planet (all works 1988) he recalls, in almost parodic fashion, the grim, mute gigantism of Richard Serra’s and Robert Morris’ sculptures, transforming them into a stage set for science fiction atrocity. The piece consists of a steel section of a sphere with a tangled stream of rubber guts spilling through a hole in its side, the result being a delirious image of

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