HAUSER & WIRTH is now representing artist Glenn Ligon. The gallery officially announced the news today, following an article about the representation published yesterday in ARTnews that cited an earlier report from Baer Faxt, a newsletter the covers the art industry.

With language as a guiding force, Ligon explores American history and the African American experience through both a personal and political lens. Literature by James Baldwin, Walt Whitman, Ralph Ellison, and Zora Neale Hurston has inspired his work. He has also drawn on Richard Pryor’s stand up, fugitive slave advertisements, and signs carried by striking sanitation workers in 1968.

Ligon’s three-decade practice spans painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, and installation. He is particularly recognized for his text-based paintings and neon works.

Marc Payot, partner and vice president at Hauser & Wirth said in statement that Ligon’s work “occupies such an important place in the story of American art.”

Payot added: “His deep political and philosophical engagement resonate with many other artists in our program, from such a predecessor as Philip Guston, to peers Lorna Simpson, Zoe Leonard and Mark Bradford, while his use of language and literature links him to others like Jenny Holzer and Roni Horn. We are excited about collaborating with Glenn to reach new generations, new audiences, and new planes of artistic endeavor.”

Mark Payot of Hauser & Wirth noted Glenn Ligon’s “deep philosophical and political engagement” and said his work “occupies such an important place in the story of American art.”

BORN IN THE BRONX, Ligon earned a bachelor of arts degree from Wesleyan University. He lives and works in New York City. “Glenn Ligon: America” (2011-12), the artist’s mid-career traveling retrospective featuring about 100 works of art was organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art. Complementing his artistic practice, Ligon curates exhibitions and writes and edits books and catalog essays about his own work and that of other artists. Most recently, he contributed to volumes exploring the work of Jason Moran, Bruce Nauman, Andy Warhol, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. Ligon is participating in the 16th Istanbul Biennial, where he will present new work in September.

Ligon currently has shows in Paris, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. In Paris, Ligon’s exhibition “Some Black Parisians” (March 26-July 21, 2019) at the Musée d’Orsay features 12 neon works and accompanies “Black models: from Géricault to Matisse” the exhibition originated by Denise Murrell at Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University in New York. Curated by the artist, “Glenn Ligon: Selections From the Marciano Collection” is on view at the Marciano Art Foundation in Los Angeles through May 12.

 


GLENN LIGON, “Warm Broad Glow,” 2005 (neon and paint, 91.4 x 487.7 cm / 36 x 192 inches). | © Glenn Ligon, Courtesy of the artist, Hauser and Wirth, New York, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, Thomas Dane Gallery, London, and Chantal Crousel, Paris. Photo by Rick Gardner

 

Also currently on view, “Glenn Ligon: To be a Negro in this country is really never to be looked at” (Jan. 24-April 7, 2019), at the Maria & Alberto de la Cruz Art Gallery at Georgetown University, takes its title from a Baldwin quote and presents three key bodies of work.

Ligon is presenting a selection of screen prints from his “Hands” (1996) series displayed publicly for the first time at Georgetown. Adapted from news photos of black men at the Million Man March, the works are installed against a backdrop of Andy Warhol wallpaper that features a repeated image of a loosely rendered line drawing of the Washington Monument.

In addition, he is showing a series of small-scale “Study for Negro Sunshine” (2018) drawings inspired by a passage from “Three Lives” (1909) by Gertrude Stein, the author’s first published book. A pair of large photographic prints reflect Ligon’s longstanding engagement with Baldwin’s 1953 essay “Stranger in the Village,” which has been the source of nearly 200 works by the artist over nearly two decades. The works reproduce pages from a copy of the book Ligon keeps in his studio and shows the paint stains, text smudges, and fingerprints that have accumulated on the well-worn pages over the years.

The artist has said his work “uses autobiographical details that can be fictionalized or distorted or played with.” Ligon made the comments in “Art Studio America: Contemporary Artist Spaces,” a hefty volume published several years ago.

He continued: “I am also interested in how one’s autobiography is shaped by the society one lives in. That’s why I am interested in Baldwin. He was always thinking about how his individual story could be mapped onto the story of the nation.”

In the same book, Ligon also said: “I’m deeply interested in the history of black people in the United States, and I am deeply interested in the history of the United States in general. The two are inseparable.”

“I’m deeply interested in the history of black people in the United States, and I am deeply interested in the history of the United States in general. The two are inseparable.” — Glenn Ligon

LIGON WAS PREVIOUSLY REPRESENTED by Luhring Augustine in New York. He will continue to be associated with Regen Projects in Los Angeles, Thomas Dane in London, and Chantal Crousel in Paris.

Hauser & Wirth is presenting Ligon’s first exhibition with the gallery in fall 2020 in New York. In a statement, the gallery said the new partnership will have a national and international focus with an emphasis on broadening Ligon’s audiences, advancing scholarship and developing publications around his art and ideas, and supporting projects with major museums and institutions.

The gallery has nine locations in the United States, Europe, and Hong Kong and a roster of more than 50 artists. In terms of African American artists, Mark Bradford, Ellen Gallagher, Rashid Johnson, and the Estate of Jack Whitten are represented by Hauser & Wirth. More recently, Lorna Simpson (2017), Charles Gaines (2018), and Amy Sherald (2018), have joined the gallery. CT

 

IMAGE: Top left, Portrait of Glenn Ligon, Photo by Paul Mpagi Sepuya

 

FIND MORE about Glenn Ligon on his website

 

BOOKSHELF
“Glenn Ligon: AMERICA” document’s the artist’s mid-career survey organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art. “Glenn Ligon: Encounters and Collisions” was published to coincide with a London exhibition presented at Nottingham Contemporary and Tate Liverpool. “Yourself in the World: Selected Writings and Interviews” features a collection of writings by Glenn Ligon. A ruled journal is covered by his “I Am a Man” work, which was inspired by the signs carried by striking sanitation workers in Memphis in 1968. He also contributed to recent volumes such as “One Day at a Time: Manny Farber and Termite Art” and “Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.”

 


GLENN LIGON, “Untitled (I Am a Man),” 1988 (oil and enamel on canvas, 101.6 x 63.5 cm / 40 x 25 inches). | © Glenn Ligon, Courtesy of the artist, Hauser and Wirth, New York, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, Thomas Dane Gallery, London, and Chantal Crousel, Paris. Photo by Ronald Amstutz

 


GLENN LIGON, “Hands,” 1996 (silkscreen ink and gesso on unstretched canvas, 208.3 x 365.8 cm / 82 x 144 inches). | © Glenn Ligon, Courtesy of the artist, Hauser and Wirth, New York, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, Thomas Dane Gallery, London, and Chantal Crousel, Paris. Photo by Brian Forrest

 


GLENN LIGON, “Untitled (I Feel Most Colored When I Am Thrown Against a Sharp White Background),” 1990 (oil stick, gesso and graphite on wood, 203.2 x 76.2 cm / 80 x 30 inches). | © Glenn Ligon, Courtesy of the artist, Hauser and Wirth, New York, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, Thomas Dane Gallery, London, and Chantal Crousel, Paris. Photo Luhring Augustine

 


GLENN LIGON, “Double America 2,” 2014 (neon and paint, 121.92 x 368.3 x 7.6 cm / 48 x 145 x 3 inches). | © Glenn Ligon, Courtesy of the artist, Hauser and Wirth, New York, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, Thomas Dane Gallery, London, and Chantal Crousel, Paris

 

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