Glenn Ligon

New Work
May 23–August 25, 1996

Glenn Ligon’s work explores race, language, sexuality, and the borders between public and private identity. This exhibition includes two new groups of paintings: a selection of self-portraits and a series depicting the Million Man March on Washington, D.C. Displayed as counterpoints in two separate galleries, the self-portraits offer discrete views of the artist as a private individual with a public persona, while the Million Man March artworks — large, unstretched canvases screenprinted with mass-media images — portray arrays of anonymous individuals brought together at an epochal moment for the African American community. The self-portraits are also based on photographic images that have been screenprinted onto canvas; in both groups of paintings, the varying tones of black, gray, and brown enamel are often overprinted several times, simultaneously accentuating and obliterating the contours of the source imagery. Presented together, these works articulate complex and indissoluble links between the private and public sides of individual identity.

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Learn more about the New Work series.

Glenn Ligon: New Work is sponsored by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Collectors Forum with additional support from the James C. Hormel Fund.

The artist would like to thank Bob Blanton, Tom Little, and the staff of Brand X Printers, as well as Willie Walker and Paula Jabloner at the Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California.