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Untitled: Four Etchings

Glenn Ligon (American, born New York, New York, 1960)

Date:
1992
Medium:
Portfolio of 4 etchings
Dimensions:
25 x 17-1/4 inches
Classification:
Prints
Credit Line:
Gift of The Peter Norton Family Foundation, 1998
Accession Number:
1998.456.2a-d
  • Description

    Ligon's paintings and prints frequently juxtapose pictures and captions, but in many cases, they consist of words alone, excerpted from famous writings by James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, and Zora Neale Hurston, among others. His stenciling, which is deliberately smudged and frequently illegible, illustrates each author's message, even as he obfuscates their actual words. In the two black-on-white prints here, he repeats a different line from Hurston's essay "How it Feels to Be Colored Me" (1928): "I feel most colored when I am thrown against a sharp white background" and "I do not always feel colored." In the black-on-black prints, he repeats a single passage, with different line breaks, from Ellison's prologue for Invisible Man (1952): "I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids - and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me."

  • See also
    Who
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    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
490241

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