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Glenn Ligon: A People on the Cover

Glenn Ligon: A People on the Cover

By (author) Glenn Ligon


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  • Leading US Conceptual artist Glenn Ligon identifies the act of reading as a foundation stone of his life and work
  • For this artist book, Ligon has selected over 50 examples of book covers in order to explore the representation of Black people in the US
  • Spanning the 20th century, these covers are grouped to reveal correspondences between past and present, as well as links between constructs of race, beauty and the body
  • Published to coincide with a UK exhibition by Ligon in 2015, Encounters and Collisions, but a still timely subject in both the visual arts and culture more widely
  • Includes an essay by Ligon himself on the subject of reading
Full Description

In this artist book, celebrated American Conceptual artist Glenn Ligon traces the representation of Black people on book covers in the United States, highlighting the deliberate use of typography, photography and graphics.

Best known for appropriating imagery and text from popular culture, Ligon has selected over 50 book covers – by both lesser-known and seminal authors, such as James Baldwin, Norman Mailer and Toni Morrison – to explore a rich and complex set of histories and representations.

To introduce the book, an essay by Ligon identifies one of the foundation stones of his life and work: the act of reading. Spanning the twentieth century and grouped thematically, the covers reveal correspondences between the past and the present, as well as links between the social and visual constructs of race, beauty and the body.

Published to coincide with the exhibition Glenn Ligon: Encounters and Collisions, both co-curated and featuring works by the artist, held at Nottingham Contemporary (4 April–14 June 2015) and Tate Liverpool (30 June–18 October 2015).

About the Author

Glenn Ligon is a Conceptual artist living and working in New York City. His work has been exhibited internationally, including at the Venice Biennale (1997 and 2015), and in 2021 he was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

21st Jul 2022
Paperback / softback
World excluding USA & Canada
241 mm x 171 mm
144 Pages
64 color
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