Indepth Arts News: |
"COLORING: NEW WORK BY GLENN LIGON"
2000-10-22 until 2001-02-11
Walker Art Center
Glenn Ligon has been internationally recognized for
paintings and prints that use language as both
image and communication tool. He often addresses
issues of race, culture, and identity by quoting from
socially and politically charged material, including
excerpts from the writings of James Baldwin,
Richard Dyer, and Zora Neale Hurston; appropriated
news photos of the 1995 Million Man March; and
title pages from 19th-century slave narratives. He
has consistently mined this cultural material for
greater meaning and historical revelation.
the artist has created new work that draws on an era of
continuing personal fascination: 1970s America. It was
a time of burgeoning racial consciousness among
African Americans, whose new self-awareness
reverberated in numerous everyday cultural
manifestations. Ligon has chosen images from
mass-produced, black-themed coloring books of the
early 1970s and reproduced them as large-scale
silkscreens on canvas. His use of vibrant colors in these
works is a startling change for an artist known mostly
for his black-and-white compositions.
These works continue Ligons investigation of language
and appropriated images mediated by historical context.
In his alphabet series, B invokes bee, butterfly, bad
(ba-a-d), and brothers. Similarly, the images range
from a pensive Malcolm X and gold-chained Isaac
Hayes to a young African girl and a group of children
playing basketball. These everyday representations of
black life are intricately connected to the Civil Rights
and Black Power movements that foreshadowed them
and suggest an insertion of black people into the greater
American and world history.
view in the
area. During the summer of 2000, he made coloring
sheets from the appropriated images and joined area
children in coloring sessions. He is interested in the
ways young children respond to images and words.
This collaboration with Twin Cities community
members was an unexpected, serendipitous follow-up to
his earlier residency, during which Ligon worked with
the Walkers Teen Arts Council to produce artworks
based on the museums permanent collection.
Ligon is represented by several works in the Walkers
permanent collection, including the recently acquired
coal-dust painting Untitled (Stranger in the Village
#16) (2000). He was included in the 2000 Kwangju
Biennial, and has had solo exhibitions at several
museums, including the San Francisco Museum of
Glenn Ligons source material from 1970s coloring books courtesy the artist.