Glenn Ligon: From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation brings together works on paper by the influential artist that explore how constructions of Blackness in the United States infuse popular culture, literature, and history.
The artworks included in the exhibition span five decades, from 1970-2020, and are drawn together for how they creatively call attention to the impact and history of forced migrations, industrialization, global capitalism, and trauma on humans and the contemporary landscape.
Featuring the series “Narratives,” 1993, Self Portrait at Nine Years Old (James Brown), 2008, and End of Year Reports, 2003, among other artworks, the exhibition provides insights into Ligon’s long-running aesthetic interrogations into his personal social positioning and experiences as a queer, Black man. The structures and histories that make these shared identity categories are also made subject in the artist's critical examination. The artworks engage the entangled histories of race, literature, and culture, with a broad range of references from slave narratives to children’s coloring books. Together, they poignantly articulate the role of language and popular culture in the structuring of the self—and society—in both the past and present.