Spring 2001

The Recent Drawings: An Overview

Narrative structures

Mark Lombardi

In 1994 I began a series of drawings I refer to as “narrative structures.” Most were executed in graphite or pen and ink on paper. Some are quite large, measuring up to 5×12 feet.

I call them “narrative structures” because each consists of a network of lines and notations that are meant to convey a story, typically a recent event of interest to me, like the collapse of a large international bank, trading company, or investment house. One of my goals is to explore the interaction of political, social, and economic forces in contemporary affairs. Thus far I have exhibited drawings on BCCI, Lincoln Savings, World Finance of Miami, the Vatican Bank, Silverado Savings, Castle Bank and Trust of the Bahamas, Nugan Hand Limited of Sydney, Australia, and many more.

Working from syndicated news items and other published accounts, I begin each drawing by compiling large amounts of information about a specific bank, financial group, or set of individuals. After a careful review of the literature I then condense the essential points into an assortment of notations and other brief statements of fact, out of which an image begins to emerge.

My purpose throughout is to interpret the material by juxtaposing and assembling the notations into a unified, coherent whole. In some cases I use a set of stacked, parallel lines to establish a time frame. Hierarchical relationships, the flow of money, and other key details are then indicated by a system of radiating arrows, broken lines, and so forth. Some of the drawings consist of two different layers of information—one denoted in black, the other in red. Black represents the essential elements of the story while major lawsuits, criminal indictments, or other legal actions taken against the parties are illustrated with red. Every statement of fact and connection depicted in the work is true and based on information culled entirely from the public record.

Recommended Reading
James Ring Adams, The Big Fix: Inside the S & L Scandal (New York: Wiley, 1990).
Jonathan Beaty and S. C. Gwynne, Outlaw Bank: A Wild Ride into the Secret Heart of BCCI (New York: Random House, 1993).
Michael Binstein and Charles Bowden, Trust Me: Charles Keating and the Missing Billions (New York: Random House, 1993).
Alan Block, Masters of Paradise: Organized Crime and the IRS in the Bahamas (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Pubs, 1991).
Theodore Draper, A Very Thin Line: The Iran-Contra Affairs (New York: Hill & Wang, 1991).
Rachel Ehrenfeld, Evil Money: The Inside Story of Money Laundering and Corruption in Government, Banks and Business (New York: Shapolsky, 1992).
Nicholas Faith, Safety in Numbers: The Mysterious World of Swiss Banking (New York: Viking, 1982).
Stephen Fay, Beyond Greed: the Hunt Family’s Bold Attempt to Corner the Silver Market (New York: Penguin, 1983).
Alan Friedman, Spider’s Web: The Secret History of How the White House Illegally Armed Iraq (New York: Bantam, 1993).
Thomas Gladwin and Ingo Walter, Multinationals Under Fire (New York: Wiley, 1980).
Mark Hulbert, Interlock: The Untold Story of American Banks, Oil Interests, the Shah’s Money, Debts, and the Astounding Connections Between Them (New York: Richardson & Snyder, 1982).
Robert Hutchison, Vesco: The Story of the Biggest Securities Fraud of Modern Times—the Looting of IOS (New York: Praeger, 1974).
Herbert Krosney, Deadly Business: Legal Deals and Outlaw Weapons—The Arming of Iran and Iraq, 1975 to the Present (New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 1994).
Jonathan Kwitny, The Crimes of Patriots: A Rue Tale of Drugs, Dirty Money and the CIA (New York: Norton, 1987).
Jonathan Kwitny, Endless Enemies: The Making of an Unfriendly World (New York: Penguin, 1984).
Penny Lernoux, In Banks We Trust: Bankers and their Close Associates—The CIA, the Mafia, Drug Traders, Dictators, Politicians and the Vatican (New York: Anchor, 1984).
Peter Mantius, Shell Game: A True Story of Banking, Spies, Lies, Politics and the Arming of Saddam Hussein (New York: St. Martins, 1995).
R. T. Naylor, Hot Money and the Politics of Debt (New York: Linden Press / Simon & Schuster, 1994).
Steven Pizzo, Mary Fricker, and Paul Muolo, Inside Job: The Looting of America’s Savings and Loans (New York: McGraw Hill, 1991).
Anthony Sampson, The Arms Bazaar From Lockheed to Lebanon (New York: Viking, 1977).
William Shawcross, The Shah’s Last Ride: The Fate of an Ally (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988).
James B. Stewart, Den of Thieves (New York: Touchstone. 1992).
Nick Tosches, Power on Earth: Michele Sindona’s Explosive Story (New York: Arbor House, 1986).
Peter Truell and Larry Gurwin, False Profits: The Inside story of BCCI (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1992).
Lawrence E. Walsh, Iran-Contra: The Final Report of the Independent Counsel (New York: Times Books, 1994).
Ingo Walter, Secret Money: The World of International Financial Secrecy (Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 1985).
Steven Wilmsen, Silverado: Neil Bush and the Savings and Loan Scandal (Washington, D.C.: National Press Books, 1991).

Mark Lombardi lived and worked in New York. His estate is represented by Pierogi Gallery, New York.

If you’ve enjoyed the free articles that we offer on our site, please consider subscribing to our nonprofit magazine. You get twelve online issues and unlimited access to all our archives.