Glenn Ligon (b. 1960) is an interdisciplinary artist known for exploring race, sexuality, representation and language. He frequently uses evocative text, quotations from culturally charged and historically relevant material by writers such as James Baldwin, Jean Genet and Zora Neale Hurston. He works in a variety of media, including painting, neon, installation, video and print.
Born in Bronx, NY Glenn Ligon attended the Rhode Island School of Design for two years in 1980, and received a BA from Wesleyan University in 1982, where he studied under David Schorr. In 1985, he participated in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program. Ligon has had solo shows at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, NY; Dia Center for the Arts, NY; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Saint Louis Art Museum, MO; the Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; and The Power Plant, Toronto, among others. He has exhibited widely in major group exhibitions, including at the Whitney Biennial in 1991 and 1993, Biennale of Sydney in 1996, Venice Biennale in 1997, Documenta 11 in 2002, Tate Modern, London, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
He has received grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Joan Mitchell Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. In 2006 he was awarded the Skowhegan Medal for Painting. In 2011, the Whitney Museum held a major mid-career retrospective of his work, “Glenn Ligon: AMERICA,” which later traveled to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA and the Modern Museum of Fort Worth, TX.