Glenn Ligon: AMERICA

Solo en Inglès

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.


Glenn Ligon (b. 1960), Self–Portrait, 1996. Silkscreen ink and gesso on canvas, 48 x 40 in. (121.9 x 101.6 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; promised gift of Beth Rudin DeWoody P.2013.5. © Glenn Ligon


NARRATOR: In these self-portraits, Ligon refuses to look directly out at us. The images, silk-screened onto canvas with thick enamel ink, are dark and grainy. Curator Scott Rothkopf:

SCOTT ROTHKOPF: He's both inhabiting the mug shot but then sort of undoing it by turning his head away from us and showing us only the back. It wouldn't be very useful in a police lineup or a criminal suspect picture. And I think that that tension, and that kind of resistance, is a real part of the work and its political interest.

And, you know, this is part of systems for law enforcement in this country, which black men are certainly more obviously made the target of than any other population. And I think Glenn is, in a way, responding to and resisting that.