February 12, 2019 – May 12, 2019

Glenn Ligon is a New York-based conceptual artist. He was born in 1960. His work explores language, race, sexuality, desire as well as identity. He is best known for his works on literature, visual art, history, as well as his own personal life. He combines this formal art education and complex personal history to create emotionally charged works that convey challenging messages.

Ligon was born in South Bronx. His parents got divorced when he was only 7 years of age. He and his brother attended the Walden School a private school in Manhattan. In 1982 Ligon graduated from the much acclaimed Wesleyan University. After completing his graduation, Ligon worked as proofreader for a legal agency. In his spare time, he engaged in works of art. He participated in a number of programs of art and culture.

Ligon is one of America’s most noticeable artists now days. He is best known for his text-based paintings that he began making in the 1980s. His art is about the race and especially of being a gay black man in America. 

Ligon works included painting, sculptures, prints, mixed media, drawing as well as neon signs. He is known for incorporating texts in painting. His texts are included in paintings in the form of jokes, fragments, and quotes from authors. In 1989, he participated in a solo show and later on he became famous for his works of art. Ligon became a popular name among the artist fraternity of that time.

Whether constructed from neon lights, coal dust, glitter, paint, or photographs, Ligon’s work fluctuates between humor and startling honesty, reminding viewers that intolerance remains ubiquitous.

Ligon’s most iconic works are large-scale, text-based paintings featuring appropriated sentences that are stenciled and repeated to cover the length of the canvas.

Ligon has used James Baldwin’s seminal 1953 essay “Stranger in the Village” as the basis for his Stranger series, which contains nearly 200 works including prints, drawings, and paintings- since 1996.

Baldwin wrote it during a stay in a remote Swiss mountain village,and it examines complex and urgent questions about blackness, white supremacy, and colonialism. Ligon modifies this text in this stenciled series, making it abstract, difficult to read, and layered in meaning, similar to what Baldwin confronts.

In 2009 Ligon also created a Figure series which continues his engagement with Baldwin’s essay. He made those pieces by silk screening images of existing paintings onto variously colored backgrounds and flocking them with coal dust, which builds up the text while simultaneously obfuscating it.

While creating these canvases, Ligon kept pages of Baldwin’s essay on his studio table for reference. Over the years, the pages became covered with smudges of black paint, oil stains, and fingerprints. Intrigued by this accumulation of marks, Ligon created a suite of seventeen large-scale archival pigment that document his well-worn copy of the book, using the full text of the essay for the first time in his career.

Attached is Paul Marciano’s favorite picture



Glenn Ligon
Glenn Ligon

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