From November 12, 2022 to December 17, 2022
The show, titled Sea of Change, will put Longo’s longstanding investigations of power structures, social and political inequities, and mythmaking on full view. Running from November 12 to December 17, the exhibition will feature works on paper mounted on aluminum and created in 2022, a new video, and a selection of sculptures, marking the first time the artist’s sculptural works will be presented in LA in more than 20 years.
A key figure in the Pictures Generation of the 1970s and 1980s, Longo is widely known for his ambitiously scaled, highly detailed, hyperrealistic charcoal drawings. Throughout his career, Longo has drawn inspiration for his work from art historical sources as well as enactments of protest and civil unrest, violence and war, and other social and political happenings around the world culled from news photography and the Internet. Over the past decade, Longo has increasingly turned his focus to images from American media, including coverage of the January 6 United States Capitol attack and the Black Lives Matter movement.
A suite of five new ink and charcoal on vellum drawings in Longo’s forthcoming show with Pace in LA exemplify his longstanding focus on struggles for justice. Among these timely works, all of which were created in 2022, are Study of Gun Protest and Study of Supreme Court Abortion Rights Protest, both of which capture the emotional dimensions of the movements for gun control and reproductive freedom in the United States.
The upcoming exhibition will also include Longo’s new charcoal drawing Untitled (The Three Graces; Donetsk, Ukraine; March 14, 2022) (2022), informed by a photo the artist encountered online. Depicting a storefront display of evening gowns in Donetsk, Ukraine, damaged by bullets from Russian forces, this poignant image and its composition reference Italian Neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova’s marble work The Three Graces (1814-17) as an ode to women’s resilience and power.
Longo’s large-scale sculptures will ground the exhibition. Death Star; The Year of 2018 (2022), a suspended globe studded with 40,000 copper and brass full metal jacket AR-10 bullets, follows Longo’s original 1993 sculpture of the same name. More than twice the size of the artist’s first Death Star sculpture, Death Star; The Year of 2018 reflects, on a formal level, the staggering increase in mass shooting incidents in the US in the past 25 years. With this work, Longo gives material form to statistical abstractions and prompts viewers to contend with the reality of gun violence in America. The artist will donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Death Star; The Year of 2018 to the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund.
Untitled (A Column of Time: One Year of The New York Times, March 2020– March 2021) (2021), a vertically oriented, cast bronze memorial to the disruptive and tragic events of 2020, will also be presented in the exhibition. This towering sculpture is based on Longo’s habit of collecting and stacking issues of The New York Times at his desk throughout that year, creating a visual representation of cumulative grief and increasing social and political precarity. Longo’s composition of this work is informed by Constantin Brâncuși’s 98-foot-tall memorial to fallen Romanian soldiers in World War I, The Endless Column (1937).
Other sculptures that will figure in Longo’s LA show are One Ton Earth (World Backwards, Off its Axis) (2021), a steel and graphite spherical sculpture that features precisely inverted renderings of the continents and speaks to the intersecting, global crises of the present moment, and Untitled (Rise Above) (2017), a black lacquer-coated rendering of a beheaded St Francis of Assisi with vibrant flowers emerging from the figure’s neck. Highlights in the exhibition also include the small-scale, intricate graphite drawing Untitled (After Dürer, The Four Horsemen from the Apocalypse 1498) (2022) and the artist’s new film piece Untitled (Sea of Change, An Homage to Winslow Homer) (2022), which features slowed-down, looped footage of waves crashing on the East Coast of the US. Presenting this work on the West Coast, Longo meditates on the differences between life on America’s coasts and in its center.
Longo, who was recently the subject of a solo show at the Palm Springs Art Museum, is represented in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Broad, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum of Modern Art in New York; Tate, London; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and many more international art institutions.