LACMA has been doing some really rad stuff lately. They have the Rodarte show up now, Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals, they just had Tim Burton’s show, they also had Larry Fink’s Hollywood show, they’re leading PST shows, they have Chris Burden’s upcoming Metrolpolis II–so much goodness! One we had no idea that was happening but are so glad we found is Glen Ligon’s AMERICA.
Ligon, who is repped by Regen Projects, is a brilliant contemporary artist whose work deals with race, sexuality, and identity. In a way, he can kind of be viewed as a more conceptual male version of Kara Walker, replacing paper cut-outs and silhouettes with pieces that reconstruct literature and pull from recent history as inspiration. The exhibit shares big works like his Door paintings, Stranger works, and the Coloring series (one of which you can see above).
The most exciting thing about the show is that LACMA sat down with him to produce a lengthy (in a great way) video of him speaking of his work and explaining what exactly is going on, essentially throwing those little explanatory placards at the show out the window opting to tell you what you are seeing right to you. He speaks on his pieces that confront Robert Mapplethorpe’s Black Book, a controversial piece that directs its gaze on the black (male) body and identity through the lens of a white body. He explains what he was planning to do and what he inevitably has done, which you get to see in the space it is in at LACMA. Moreover, he explains the history and context behind his installation To Disembark along with the basis for his brilliant Coloring series.
It’s a really great video and speaks louder than any promotional article or press release could every say. Take a few minutes and check out and, for more on the show, check out LACMA’s coverage of it here.