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  • Provenance

    Regen Projects, Los Angeles

  • Catalogue Essay

    In an interview with Museo Magazine Glenn Ligon was asked about the legibility and comprehensive understanding of his works including texts as well as works not including words. Ligon responded: “From the first text paintings, which used quotations from authors like Zora Neale Hurston, Jean Genet, Walt Whitman, or Ralph Ellison, this question of legibility was foregrounded partially because the quotes that I was using in those early paintings always had the word “I” in them, and the titles of the paintings didn’t clearly identify them as coming from specific authors or specific essays or novels. So, there was always confusion for the viewer about who that “I” was. Over time, it became known that ‘Glenn Ligon makes text paintings using quotes,’ but even then, there was still confusion about that: What does it mean to take on another person’s words as a way of talking about the self? One of the things I’ve always been interested in was the connection or collision of identities—that something written by Hurston in the 20s could seem incredibly relevant and autobiographical in some sense, that one could inhabit it, in the way that when you were a kid, you wanted to be a rock star, and everything about that rock star seemed to express who you were. It’s the same kind of relationship to those texts for me: The text is something that I wanted to inhabit, and the way I chose to inhabit it was to make paintings that have quotes that create confusion about who’s speaking” (D. Drogin, “Glenn Ligon,” Museo Magazine, Issue 14). In his painting Gold Just Us #7, Ligon borrowed a joke from comedian Richard Pryor.

  • Artist Bio

    Glenn Ligon

    American • 1960

    Glenn Ligon, who gained prominence in the early 1990s along with a generation of artists including Gary Simmons and Lorna Simpson, is a conceptual artist who throughout his career has pursued an incisive exploration of American history, literature, and society. Together with Thelma Golden, Ligon coined the term “post-blackness”, describing it in the catalogue for the Studio Museum in Harlem’s Freestyle landmark exhibition in 2001 as, “the liberating value in tossing off the immense burden of race-wide representation, the idea that everything they do must speak to or for or about the entire race.” 

    While Ligon’s body of work spans neon, photography, sculptures, print, installation, and video, he is most widely associated with his text-based paintings that draw on the writings and speech of diverse figures such as Jean Genet, Zora Neale Hurston, Gertrude Stein, and Walt Whitman.

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101

Gold just us #7

2008
Acrylic and oilstick on canvas.
32 x 32 in. (81.3 x 81.3 cm).
Signed, titled and dated “Glenn Ligon 2008 Gold Just us # 7” on the overlap.

Estimate
$70,000 - 90,000 

sold for $98,500

Contemporary Art Part I

8 November 2010
New York