Some Type of Influence or Control Some Type of Influence or Control

Some Type of Influence or Control

by Craig Damrauer

September 16, 2011

The artist Mark Lombardi is by no means a household name, which is why it’s surprising that he was known to the FBI.

The drawings have the precision of blueprints but the flow of nature. Sometimes Lombardi centers them on a timeline, with years running along a horizontal axis and names arcing off. Sometimes he organizes the drawings around more elliptical relationships, with one person becoming his or her own little center of gravity while the connections spiral out. These latter drawings take my breath away.

Dr. Robert Hobbs, the curator of a 2003 retrospective of Lombardi’s work at the Drawing Center in New York City, told me that people traveled from out of state to see the pencil-drawn work. Part of the reason was that the drawings don’t reproduce that well; the graphite lines are not camera-friendly and the pieces are quite big. But the main reason, he said, was that they’d come to see a complete rendering of “the global community of power.” The world isn’t a bunch of molecules randomly bumping into each other; it’s organized. And even though it’s often organized in ways that are pretty unappealing, Lombardi's work gives this information structure, narrative, and ultimately grace.
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Some Type of Influence or Control