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Bassel Hamieh

A Report on Glen Ligon


Glens artistic view, as well as his philosophy, is the idea that one should use all that he
had been given and all that surrounds him to convey a certain message to society. From physical
materials, to quotes and novels, to objects such as doors and coloring books, light and darkness,
and even pornography, he believes that these materials and concepts that should be brought from
a range of different ages in history, would be the ingredients to art pieces that projected very
clear but creative ideas and concepts. He used this philosophy to communicate many themes and
stories. He loved the idea that many of the quotes and pieces of writings by Ellison, Hurston,
Genet, or James Baldwin that were written on the subjects of race, personality, life, the economy,
feminism and emotions. All he simply wanted to do was to shine light on the things that spoke
to him so people from todays time can have the ability to also connect. However he took these
things and gave them a contemporary twist so it appeals to todays time.
Glens work is a combination of many types of art and is something that is not seen in a
lot of other artists. His use of painting, stenciling, typography, rhetoric and much more was very
grasping. However what made his artwork stand out was the rhetoric that he borrowed from
writiers to bring different takes on issues such as race and homosexuality. He was all about
configuring how the past comes into the present and found ways to export that into art peices and
spread the information onword.
I admire Glens work very much because it is very different and unique. It looks graphic
and modern to me-as if he used computer systems to create his art where in fact it is all done by
hand. That is mind blowing. I like how real he is and how he does not try to glorify the topics he
talks about but is factual with his content. Especially in his newest exhibit that involved neon
lighting and was called America, instead of showing america just as things beautiful and
structural country he showed all the different sides of it by using different colored lights and
flipped letters and the use of flickering technology to give a sense of what America is in fact all
about.
Glen was an artist who one day decided that he was an artist at heart, moved into an
apartment in Brooklyn, New York, and began painting. He is an artist that finds passion within
the things he reads, his personal experiences, and literally everything that is around him. He is
the type of artist who created a new route for art. He brought concepts of art such as lettering,
painting, and text, put it all together and created a visuals that were attractive. The idea of art is
to bring constant questions and emotions out of the viewers, and he was able to accomplish that
very successfully.

metaphors. He does sculpture, prints, photography, light.
Through the use of realism he brought the truth about
He decided to become an artist all of a sudden after he decided he doesnt want to be an
architect. He moved back to an apartment in brooklyn New York and began painting.
He focuses on black history and utilizes all the people around him to bring his work to life. He
used things such as charles Dickens novel. it was the best of times, and the worst of times.
I thought it was interesting how he utilized coloring books from the 70s that had all these famous
black political leaders that had scribbles all over them. He utilized those. He takes time with his
art work. Some of his work took 25 years until he finally finished it and published it. He uses
lettering and passages from books, quotes from black slaves, peoples opinions and views. He is
a very inclusive and real artist. I like the inclusiveness he brings in.
He likes to use other peoples quotes
He first wanted to start as an abstract artist but he realized that it wasnt big enough for him. He
could say the things he wanted to say through abstract art. So he decided to include the different
texts that stand out to him and put them in his paintings. The phrases usually come first. He uses
door panels, to neon lights, to smearing and smudging, to stenciling, to people, to authors, to
kids, to coloring books, to metaphors. He does sculpture, prints, photography, light. Very
resourceful. He inspires and ignites his passion through the physical and
A lot of his art is about language and quotation and different ways to use them. He uses direct
quotations, some are jokes.
Varied strategies were used
Baldwin, waltwhitmen, Jen genas essays and he figured he could communicate them by simply
He even used pornographic and stereotypical photographs of black men and captions.
He focused a lot of black history and the history of america. He also photos on the gay
community.
What I liked is that he did not glorify anything or used emotion. He was very real about his
work.
And his earliest projects included film.
I think it was more about how the past comes into the present. I was using quotes by writers like
Ellison, Hurston, Genet, or James Baldwin in order to say that even though were in a different
historical moment with different political realities, those texts still have relevance and meaning
and seem to express the current moment in a way that is very vivid for me. Its not simply about
a kind of identity formation in the sense of these are people I want to emulate. It was more
about, these are the people who are speaking to me at the moment.