I am a huge fan of New York-based artist Glenn Ligon’s large black and white canvases incorporating coal dust. There was the most stunning new example of one of these pieces at the Regen Projects booth at Art Basel Miami Beach, and there were also three massive works by the artist on view right when you entered the de la Cruz Collection space.
Ligon’s most recent solo exhibition was a mid-career retrospective entitled Glenn Ligon: AMERICA at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2011, which travelled thereafter to LACMA and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. He is best known for his landmark series of text-based paintings, made since the late 1980s, which draw on the writings and speech of diverse figures, and often addresses the topic of race. He currently has a solo exhibition at Luhring Augustine in New York, which features a large selection of his neon text pieces he has created since 2005, pushing his practice into new, unexpected territories while remaining in dialogue with his text paintings.
But the coal dust works are my favorite. I love how you can see the sparkle from the coal dust the closer you get to the painting, and how beautifully abstract they look from further away. Pictures just don’t do them justice.