Glenn Ligon: AMERICA Audio Guide Playlist
This audio guide, introduced by Alice Pratt Brown Director Adam D. Weinberg, highlights a diverse range of works from the exhibition Glenn Ligon: AMERICA. Artist Glenn Ligon, exhibition curator Scott Rothkopf, and Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem, provide additional commentary.
NARRATOR: This series of lithographs, Runaways, began with Ligon’s study of nineteenth-century advertisements for runaway slaves, written by slave owners.
GLENN LIGON: The descriptions were quite detailed: "He laughs a lot when he talks," or, "He can play the French horn," which seem to me unnecessary if you're just describing the return of a person who is your property. And the elaborateness of those descriptions seemed to speak to a complicated relationship between master and slaveholder.
NARRATOR: Ligon asked ten friends to describe him as if they were filing a “missing persons” report. He presented their descriptions in prints seeking a run-away named Glenn. Like the slave owners, Ligon’s friends paint a picture that is both generic—he is five feet eight inches tall—and oddly idiosyncratic. When Glenn walks, for example, “his feet cross each other a little bit.”
The works are funny and disturbing. With a light touch, Ligon confronts the issue of slavery and brings it into our own time. He suggests that it remains a powerful undercurrent in American society.
- 300 Introduction to Glenn Ligon: AMERICA
- 301 Glenn Ligon, Untitled (I Am a Man), 1988
- 302 Glenn Ligon, No 291 (Language), 1988
- 303 Glenn Ligon, Untitled (I Feel Most Colored When I Am Thrown Against a Sharp White Background), 1990
- 304 Glenn Ligon, Untitled (I Remember the Very Day That I Became Colored), 1990
- 305 Glenn Ligon, Untitled (I Was Somebody), 1991
- 306 Glenn Ligon, Runaways, 1993
- 307 Glenn Ligon, Notes on the Margin of the Black Book, 1991–1993
- 307b Glenn Ligon, Notes on the Margin of the Black Book, 1991–1993
- 308 Glenn Ligon, We’re Black and Strong I, 1996
- 309 Glenn Ligon, Self-Portraits, 1996
- 310 Glenn Ligon, Malcolm X (Version 1) #1, 2000
- 311 Glenn Ligon, When Black Wasn’t Beautiful #1, 2004
- 312 Glenn Ligon, Untitled (Conclusion), 2004
- 313 Glenn Ligon, Self-Portrait, 2002