Art21 Extended Play

Glenn Ligon: Layers of Meaning

Glenn Ligon

Glenn Ligon. Hands(detail), 1996. Production still from the series Exclusive. © Art21, Inc. 2014. Cinematography: Joel Shapiro.

“Like any artwork, things become richer if you know more about them, but I don’t think that’s crucial.” —Glenn Ligon

Today’s Exclusive features Glenn Ligon discussing texts and cultural events, such as the writings of James Baldwin and the Million Man March, that inspired some of his paintings. Although viewers who are familiar with these references might have a “richer” experience than those who don’t, as Ligon explains, having this knowledge is not necessary to have a meaningful experience with his work. Ligon was interviewed in 2011 at his Brooklyn, New York studio.

Exclusive is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; 21c Museum Hotel, the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, and by individual contributors.