124
124

PROPERTY FROM A PROMINENT PRIVATE COLLECTION

Glenn Ligon
NO ROOM (GOLD) #31
Estimate
120,000180,000
LOT SOLD. 175,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
124

PROPERTY FROM A PROMINENT PRIVATE COLLECTION

Glenn Ligon
NO ROOM (GOLD) #31
Estimate
120,000180,000
LOT SOLD. 175,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
London

Glenn Ligon
B. 1960
NO ROOM (GOLD) #31
signed, titled and dated 2007 on the overlap
oil and metallic acrylic on canvas
81.6 by 81.6 cm. 31 1/8  by 31 1/8 in.
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Provenance

Regen Projects, Los Angeles
Private Collection
Sotheby's, New York, 14 November 2013, Lot 416
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Catalogue Note

A sublime example of Glenn Ligon’s iconic appropriation paintings, No Room (Gold) #31 is an electrifying work that exposes the viewer to the profound hope and despair inherent in the struggle for racial equality. 

Following the example of other artists who used appropriation to deliver a politically charged messages such as Sherrie Levine and Barbara Kruger, Ligon has distinguished himself through his unique capability to aestheticise the living reality of members of minority groups. The present work is a glowing example of this union of incisive thought with pristine aesthetics. Whilst compositionally similar to Richard Prince’s infamous Jokes series, No Room (Gold) #31 emanates an atmospheric depth that reveals the underlying political forces that diminish the chances of progress. Ligon’s decision to use stencils to inscribe the surface of the canvas is technically and stylistically reminiscent of Jasper Johns’ approach and arrives at a similarly mechanically imperfect écriture.

As the foremost body of work from Glenn Ligon’s career-defining investigations into issues of identity and societal inequality, the text-based paintings stand out through their combinations of monochromatic backgrounds with stencilled quotations pertaining to race, sexuality or self. The artist borrows these from thinkers as diverse as Jean Genet, Gertrude Stein or in the case of the present work, Richard Pryor, an entertainer and commentator on the fight for racial equality. Pryor's writings were a source that Ligon would return to time and again and they are the subject of over one hundred of his paintings. His dark humour, which wrly confronted his audience with the bitter social realities of 20th century America, perfectly echoed Ligon’s artistic ambitions. Appropriating Pryor’s joke decades after its original expression in the year of a heated electoral campaign resulting in the election of the first African-American president, Ligon would demonstrate the persistent relevance of the subject matter. Embracing the topicality of Ligon’s oeuvre and the historical relevance of the series, President Obama and his wife Michelle hung Ligon’s Black Like Me #2, an earlier, conceptually and thematically alike work, in their private suite in the White House.

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
London