Glenn Ligon - Contemporary Art Day Sale London Monday, June 27, 2011 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Regen Projects, Los Angeles

  • Catalogue Essay

    Glenn Ligon has gained international acclaim for his resonant multi-media works that explore issues surrounding race, sexuality, identity and language. Ligon is best known for paintings in black oil stick and coal dust of stencilled, racially charged prose, such as Negro Sunshine. The words Ligon uses are not his own. He draws on a range of African-American literary, political and popular culture voices, such as Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin and Richard Pryor. The phrase ‘Negro Sunshine’ comes directly from Gertrude Stein’s ‘Melanctha’, the second of the stories in Three Lives, her first published work. ‘Melanctha’ is an unconventional and highly charged novella that focuses upon the distinctions and blending of race, sex and gender in a segregated American town.

  • Artist Biography

    Glenn Ligon

    American • 1960

    Glenn Ligon gained prominence in the early 1990s as a pioneering artist whose incisive work exploring of the contemporary American experience utilized the methods and legacies of modern painting and conceptual art. Embracing an intertextual approach, Ligon incorporates works from the arts, literature, history, and his own life to investigate American society and its inequities. Though he began his career as an abstract painter, he began incorporating text into his work in the mid-1980s to better articulate his political concerns and his ideas about racial identity and experience. He samples writing from famed Black writers including James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, and Ralph Ellison, among other authors. 

    Ligon’s body of work includes painting, photography, sculpture, installation, video, and neon art, but he is most widely associated with his text-based paintings. He is also notable for conceptualizing the term “Post-Blackness,” with Thelma Golden, describing it as “the liberating value in tossing off the immense burden of race-wide representation, the idea that everything they do must speak too for or about the entire race.” His work is held in notable museum collections around the world.

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Study for Negro Sunshine #54

Oilstick, coal dust and gesso on paper.
30.5 × 23 cm (12 × 9 in).
Signed, titled and dated ‘Study for Negro Sunshine #54, 2010, Glenn Ligon’ on the reverse.

£12,000 - 18,000 

Sold for £16,250

Contemporary Art Day Sale

28 June