Capitain Petzel

Robert Longo

27 Apr - 16 Jun 2012

© Robert Longo
Study of GTO, 2012
Ink and charcoal on vellum
11 3/4 x 20 inches
27 April - 16 June 2012

Capitain Petzel proudly announces the first solo exhibition by American artist Robert Longo at the gallery. STAND is a site-specific installation, which activates the architecture of the unique Capitain Petzel gallery on Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin.

Longo uses the polemic: “American’s conviction that the inalienable rights of all mankind transcend territorial borders and blood ties, making its nationalism internationalist at its core” (Robert Kagan, Dangerous Nation) to bring this group of overt political and personal work to Berlin.

All aspects of the installation transform and complicate the gallery space, starting with the shell of the building, which is shrouded with an enormous depiction of the American flag in black and white. Upon entering the gallery, the viewer is confronted with a large charcoal drawing from which the exterior of the gallery is based on. Longo’s portrayal of the stars and stripes is flanked by two drawings; one depicts a claustrophobic mass of Occupy Wall Street protesters, and the other is a lone American soldier walking towards an uncertain and ominous future.

Located on the main floor of the gallery is Longo‘s homage to the seminal Hans Haacke piece, Oelgemaelde, Hommage à Marcel Broodthaers, (1982). Longo, with the consent of Haacke, has updated the style and content to reflect a more current issue by replacing Ronald Reagan opposite a large scale image of a protest in Bonn over the deployment of American missiles in Germany, with President Obama opposite Tea Party protesters.

On the upper balcony is a series of studies based on what Longo calls a „Peep Show of American Pornography.“ This group of 25 drawings makes up the narrative that informs the underlying
concept of the exhibition.

In the basement the viewer will be confronted with residual remnants of a performance based around the reading of the classic, Moby Dick. Longo transforms the exhibition space downstairs into the belly of a ship, teeming with the sound of people reading over each other. The performance acts as a historical base for the greater installation both in and outside of the gallery, just as Moby Dick serves as the groundwork for the American story.

“Contained in the pages of Moby Dick is nothing less than the genetic code of America: all the
promises, problems, conflicts, and ideals that contributed to...this country’s ever-contentious
march into the future.”
Nathaniel Philbrick, Why Read Moby Dick

Robert Longo had solo exhibitions in prestigous public institutions including: Museu Berardo, Lisbon (2010); Kunsthalle Weishaupt, Ulm (2010); Musée d‘art moderne et d‘art contemporain, Nice (2009); Krefelder Kunstmuseen, Krefeld (2002); and the Albertina (2002), The Isetan Museum of Art in Tokyo (1995); Hamburger Deichtorhallen (1991); the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1989); and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (1989). Group exhibitions include Documenta, the Whitney Biennial and the Venice Biennale.

His work is in major public collections, including: the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art and the Jewish Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art, in New York; the LA County Museum of Contemporary Art; the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam; the Centre Pompidou in Paris; the Albertina in Vienna; the Tate in London; the Jüdisches Museum in Berlin; and the Museum Ludwig in Cologne.

In 2005 he received „The Goslar Kaiserring“ award, one of the most highly regarded prizes for modern art worldwide.

Longo lives and works in New York with his wife Barbara Sukowa, and their three sons. This is his first solo exhibition in Berlin. His work is also on view at ART and PRESS, Martin-Gropius-Bau through June 24, 2012. A monograph of his large-scale charcoal drawings from 2000-present, published by Hatje Cantz will be available May 2012.

Tags: Marcel Broodthaers, Hans Haacke, Robert Longo