Glenn Ligon: AMERICA, the artist’s recent mid-career survey, argued that Ligon’s relationship to twentieth-century painting serves as an alternative means of examining the topics of identity, politics, and history that undergird the artist’s oeuvre. The exhibition reveals that the artist’s work leverages the expressionist possibilities of identity, figuration, and history on the abstract legacies of linguistic conceptualism. A continuous examination of representation grounded in the implacably figural substrate of race, gender, sexuality, and history, Ligon’s art highlights successive tiers of social abstraction in contemporary culture as they become visible and embodied in art objects.

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