Robert Longo Sword of the Pig 1983

Artwork details

Robert Longo born 1953
Sword of the Pig
Date 1983
Medium Painted wood and screenprint on aluminium
Dimensions Object: 2480 x 5880 x 510 mm
Acquisition Presented by the Patrons of New Art through the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1983
Not on display

Display caption

This work directly criticises the macho attitude prevalent in the early 1980s. It is shaped like a sword, an obvious symbol of male aggression. 'Pig' has been used by feminists to describe a man with an aggressive sense of maleness; 'pork sword' is also slang for penis. The handle of the sword refers to the phallic shapes of a skyscraper and church steeple. The figure was drawn from several pictures of male body builders. It is therefore a composite body distorted by muscles, which parodies the macho man image. The right hand panel shows disused nuclear missile silos. They are marked INERT, and Longo thus implies that the macho mentality, like the silos, is impotent.

September 2004

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