Glenn Ligon: AMERICA

October 23, 2011 - January 22, 2012 │ Los Angeles

Deutsche Bank is proud to sponsor Glenn Ligon: AMERICA at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) from October 23, 2011 – January 22, 2012. The exhibition is the first comprehensive mid-career retrospective dedicated to the works of Glenn Ligon, one of the most important American artists to have emerged in the past two decades.

The critically-acclaimed exhibit explores the revolutionary artist through a review of twenty-five years of Ligon’s work, featuring nearly 100 pieces in a variety of media, including previously unexhibited early paintings and drawings, ranging from small detailed sketches to twelve-foot-long neon installations. The retrospective debuts early works that shed light on Ligon’s artistic origins, and for the first time reconstitutes major series, such as his seminal “Door” paintings. Throughout his career, Ligon has pursued an incisive exploration of American history, literature, and society in a body of work that builds critically on the legacies of modern painting and more recent conceptual art.

Born in Bronx, NY in 1960, Glenn Ligon became known in the 1990s for his artistic exploration of the complexities of race, gender, representation and language. Moved by the work of Robert Mapplethorpe, Ligon was inspired to create his signature black and white text-based paintings, often referencing the writings of esteemed African American authors like James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison and Zora Neale Hurston. Text is a recurring motif in Ligon’s work, which frames his exploration of identity and meaning. Ligon has said of his works that he aims to “make language into a physical thing, something that has real weight and force to it.”  Untitled (I Am a Man), 1988, one of Ligon’s early recognized paintings, appropriates the words from placards carried by the striking black sanitation workers of Memphis, TN in 1968.  On the walls of a gallery, the displaced civil rights sign is decontextualized and the language dislocated from its source. Using this historical memory, Ligon confronts and embodies formalist painting, political action and personal declaration. Ligon’s identity as a gay black man informs his art as he boldly experiments with new concepts and materials to reveal the identity politics of modern America too often overlooked in the art world. Although deeply pointed and courageous, Ligon’s artistic voice is more subtle than strident, more investigative than declarative, the breadth of his subject matter matched by the wide range of mediums he employs.

Since its inception in 1965, LACMA has been devoted to collecting works of art that span both history and geography and represent Los Angeles's uniquely diverse population. Today, the museum collection includes more than 115,000 works of art and features particularly strong collections of Asian, Latin American, European, and American art, as well as a contemporary museum on its campus. With this expanded space for contemporary art, innovative collaborations with artists, and an ongoing Transformation project, LACMA is creating a truly modern lens through which to view its rich encyclopedic collection.

Please click the link below for further information on the exhibit:

Click here to view the exhibition's press release.

Glenn Ligon, Rückenfigur, 2009, © Glenn Ligon, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, photo © 2011 Museum Associates/LACMA enlarge

Glenn Ligon, Rückenfigur, 2009, © Glenn Ligon, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, photo © 2011 Museum Associates/LACMA

Glenn Ligon, Rückenfigur, 2009, © Glenn Ligon, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, photo © 2011 Museum Associates/LACMA

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