At particular moments in history, artists use their artwork to reveal social, cultural, and political complexities, responding with urgency and conviction to the times in which they live. Bringing together the striking work of three innovative chroniclers, Proof: Francisco Goya, Sergei Eisenstein, Robert Longo offers insight into the energy, empathy, and creativity with which these artists recounted and reimagined often disturbing realities.
Together spanning four centuries and three continents, Spanish artist Francisco Goya (1746–1828), Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein (1898–1948), and contemporary American artist Robert Longo (born 1953) each witnessed a turbulent transition from one century to another and the profound repercussions of revolution, war, and civil unrest. Within a broad chronological framework, Proof traces the historical lineage of a visual language and artistic impulse.
Featuring artwork almost exclusively in black and white, Proof showcases the artists’ technical acuity and bold experimentation in three mediums: etching, film, and charcoal drawing. With a rare combination of selections, it invites viewers to find new meaning in artworks not normally encountered together. These works call to mind images—such as mutiny on a Russian battleship, or American riot police standing guard at a political protest—that are usually represented through journalistic coverage, yet they express the artists’ personal, often emotional, perspectives. As the exhibition title suggests, Goya, Eisenstein, and Longo together provide powerful proof not only of significant events or actions, but more crucially of their ongoing resonances through art.
Proof: Francisco Goya, Sergei Eisenstein, Robert Longo is initiated by the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, and curated by Kate Fowle, Garage Chief Curator, in collaboration with Robert Longo. The Brooklyn Museum presentation is organized by Sara Softness, Assistant Curator, Special Projects, Brooklyn Museum.