President Obama’s favorite artist, Glenn Ligon, is famous for his timely abstract works utilizing text to define black lives and gender roles in modern times. One of the few creatives whose works spans age, geography and school of thought, Ligon opened his home to The New York Times and talked about this non-collector collection and latest acquisition from David Hammons:
Giving a tour of the works, acquired through purchase or exchanges with friends, the 56-year-old artist was most excited about one of David Hammons’s basketball drawings, a delicate smokey abstraction made by bouncing a grimy basketball on a piece of paper. “David has been an amazing touchstone for a lot of artists,” said Mr. Ligon, who said he first became interested in working with light after seeing Mr. Hammons’s “Concerto in Black and Blue” in 2002. Mr. Ligon currently has three neon text sculptures on view in New York, at the Studio Museum in Harlem, Petzel Gallery and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Other favorites include silhouetted figures on paper by Bill Traylor, motion studies of a mixed-race boxer by Eadweard Muybridge and a canvas of white-on-black concentric waves by the Aboriginal artist Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri. “It’s about a myth from his language group in Australia and the formation of the land, but it’s an incredible abstraction too,” Mr. Ligon said. “Embedded in it is a secret language that’s really inspiring to me.” Here are edited excerpts from the conversation.
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Image Source: Tony Cenicola/The New York Times