Questionnaire: Glenn Ligon

Q: What do you like the look of? A: Someone who knows who they are

thanksgiving-at-the-vanguard-by-jason-moran_900.jpg

Cover image for Jason Moran’s Thanksgiving at the Vanguard, 2017

Cover image for Jason Moran’s Thanksgiving at the Vanguard, 2017

What images keep you company in the space where you work?
A Beauford Delaney portrait of James Baldwin, a drawing my three-year-old godson gave me, and a replica of an On Kawara date painting made by a friend to commemorate the day we first met.

What was the first piece of art that really mattered to you?
An abstract painting of a cityscape by an artist whose name escapes me. In retrospect, the work wasn't particularly good but the fact that abstraction could hold my attention as a child is fascinating to me.

If you could live with only one piece of art what would it be?
David Hammons, In The Hood, 1993.

What is your favourite title of an artwork?
See above.

What do you wish you knew?
Why folks here in America don't want to do right.

What should change?
We should close everything that’s open and open everything that’s closed.

What should stay the same?
Nothing, really.

What could you imagine doing if you didn't do what you do?
Selling real estate.

What music are you listening to?
Jason Moran’s Thanksgiving at the Vanguard (2017), Cecil Taylor’s Nefertiti, the Beautiful One Has Come (1962), Solange’s A Seat at the Table (2016), and random things by Belle and Sebastian.

What are you reading?
Maggie Nelson’s Bluets (2009), Fred Moten’s The Feel Trio (2014), John McWhorter’s Talking Back, Talking Black: Truths about America's Lingua Franca (2016), and lots of books on urban gardening.

What do you like the look of?
Someone who knows who they are.

What is art for?
It's to help us imagine and bring about the world we want to live in.

Glenn Ligon (b. 1960) lives and works in New York. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University in 1982, and attended the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in 1985. A mid-career retrospective of Ligon’s work, ‘Glenn Ligon: America’, organized by Scott Rothkopf, opened at the Whitney Museum of American Art in March 2011 and travelled nationally. Ligon has also been the subject of solo museum exhibitions at Camden Arts Centre in London, the Power Plant in Toronto, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, and the Kunstverein Munich. ‘Blue Black’, a curatorial project by Ligon, including more than 50 works and inspired by the Pulitzer’s monumental Ellsworth Kelly wall piece, opened at the Pulitzer Art Foundation, St. Louis in June and runs till 7 October, 2017.  

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