Contemporary Art Today-Glenn Ligon

By: Melanie Rosato

Let me introduce you to Glenn Ligon, a conceptual artist born in 1960.

Although, his concepts have an autobiographical quality, he emphasizes that his work is about a collective group.

Ligon BP1 2
Untitled (I Feel Most Colored When I Am Thrown Against a Sharp White Background), 1990-91, Oil stick, gesso and graphite on wood panel, 80×30 inches

His work examines American ideals through referencing historical sources he acquires. The content of his work confronts slavery, oppressive sexual politics, and the civil rights movement through multi-media pieces. His mediums have stretched from unreliable materials like oil crayon to photography, neon, and the incorporation of silkscreen.

With text often taking the spotlight in his work, the viewer has no choice but to listen to what he has to say. He often borrows text from literary and pop culture figures to act as a bridge between his ideas and public perception, while maintaining his poignant commentary on society. Although his work manipulates multiple mediums they all have a common theme of discussing social identity and cultural psychological phenomena. Often in a large-scale, they become difficult to ignore, and the viewer is swallowed by the messages that the artist presents.



Reference information courtesy of: ArtNet and Art21
Header photo courtesy of: NYTimes


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