Art Basel: Robert Longo Inspired by BlackBook Inspired by Robert Longo

The Miami Beach Convention Center opened its doors to collectors, curators, and Kelly Rowland last night for the first look at this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach. All of the usual suspects hung framed on the palatial space’s makeshift walls: de Kooning, Christo, Pettibon, Rauschenberg, Ruscha, Sherman, Walker, Wiley. Robert Longo had at least one piece there, too, and it was inspired by a recent BlackBook shoot, which was in turn inspired by his “Men in the Cities” series. Wait, what?

We featured Longo in our March 2010 issue, in which we celebrated the artist’s work, a segment of which were illustrations of men and women in business suits dancing uncontrollably. (A piece from that time adorned Patrick Bateman’s apartment in American Psycho, making Longo and Huey Lewis accessories to Christian Bale’s gory-chic crimes.) A few months later, when profiling Cillian Murphy and Ken Watanabe for their film, Inception, we decided to shoot the co-stars in homage to Longo’s work—we asked Murphy and Watanabe to jump on a trampoline, first solo and then while faux-fighting.

In a totally weird and full-circle turn of events, Longo saw that issue’s shoot, said that it reminded him of his own work, and then drew the photo that was originally based on his series so that it’s now become part of that series. After spending what felt like four hours relaying this story to one of the gallery’s curators, she smiled and said, “He loves that piece so much, he actually wanted to take it back.”

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