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Image of Untitled (speech/hands) #1

Glenn Ligon , b. 1960

Untitled (speech/hands) #1

2000
40 in. x 44 in. (101.6 cm x 111.76 cm)

Medium and Support: Silkscreen, coal dust, oilstick, and glue on paper
Credit Line: Museum purchase
Accession Number: 2001.14

Commentary

Glenn Ligon provocatively pushes the limits of legibility to comment on language’s ability to communicate and invisibility as it relates to issues of identity, race, and representation. Untitled (speech/hands) #1 is one of a series that layers text from Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s speech at the 1995 Million Man March over a silkscreened news photograph depicting the event. Rendered in black oil stick and coal dust, the glittering text is simultaneously seductive and frustrating. Inviting close inspection but providing neither legible text nor lucid imagery, Ligon’s ambiguous work questions the effectiveness of words and images to convey clear truths and invites us to consider the ways in which they can alternately report, distort, and obscure historical events.

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