Robert Longo’s Enormous Drawings of Enormity

THE DAILY PIC: At Metro Pictures, Longo's huge new drawings give weighty subjects a monumental heft.

THE DAILY PIC (#1782): A love of the handmade, and of the monumental, are two of the worst clichés in art. Using your hands to make something huge should be seen as a hard-earned artistic privilege rather than an automatic esthetic right. In today’s Pic, Robert Longo’s new drawing has earned its wall-covering size and laborious hand-crafting, and the same can be said of many similar pieces in the Longo show that opened yesterday at Metro Pictures in New York.

The piece I’m showing, 12 feet wide by eight feet tall, is based on a telephoto shot of prisoners lined up at Kandahar airport on their way to imprisonment, and worse, at a CIA black site. The enormity of their plight calls for the enormousness of Longo’s drawing. The fact that every little inch of it has been touched and marked by a human hand stands as an act of acknowledgement, of respect, and maybe, in some peculiar way, of atonement. (Courtesy the artist and Metro Pictures, New York)

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