Light artist Glenn Ligon is perhaps best known for his stunning work with neon tube lighting. Glenn’s influences are extremely broad to say the least, and he has been known to draw inspiration from anything from retro coloring books, all the way through Gertrude Stein and Robert Mapplethorpe, Glenn is a native New Yorker and his work is a way of exploring black and gay identities as well as the experience of anyone who might consider themselves to be an “other” in society by using visual language of both adverts and protest signs.
Some of Glenn’s work may appear to be simply neon signs which show an individual word or two, but when you look closer at his history the real meaning of his work begins to make itself more apparent.
He first thought about adding light into his artistic work when he first came across the work Concerto in Black and Blue, which was created by the artist David Hammon back in 2002, in which visitors had to navigate a dark and emptied out gallery space that was filled with blue lights. Glenn’s resultant neon works draw from his first experience with that work.