ArtChevron Down Icon
Discord Icon

Glenn Ligon: ‘I AM A MAN’

Watch on YouTube

Youtube Filled Icon
Share Icon

Subscribe to HENI Talks Channel

American conceptual artist Glenn Ligon's work Untitled (I Am A Man), 1988, references the civil rights protest placard that was carried in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968 by striking African-American sanitation workers, and was subsequently taken-up at the Martin Luther King memorial march after the activist's assassination. 'Freighted with history', this work is much more than a straightforward text painting.

Through close examination of Ligon's career, artist and writer Gregg Bordowitz proposes that Ligon's Untitled (I Am A Man) and other text-based works are both figurative and historical paintings, which explore and confront the themes of language, identity, race and sexuality.

Time Period:


Gregg Bordowitz is a writer, AIDS activist, and film and videomaker. His work, including Fast Trip, Long Drop (1993) and Habit (2001), documents his personal experiences of testing positive and living with HIV within the context of a personal and global crisis. His films, including A Cloud in Trousers (1995) and The Suicide (1996), have been widely shown in festivals, museums, movie theaters, and broadcast internationally. His work was most recently the subject of a career retrospective titled 'Gregg Bordowitz: I Want to Be Well', opened at the Cooley Art Gallery of Reed College, Portland, Oregon, Fall 2018; and the retrospective is traveling to the Art Institute of Chicago, April 4 through July 14, 2019.

His writings are collected in The AIDS Crisis is Ridiculous and Other Writings: 1986-2003. For this book, Bordowitz received the 2006 Frank Jewitt Mather Award from the College Art Association. His book General Idea: *Imagevirus *was published in 2010.

Bordowitz delivered Testing Some Beliefs, an improvisational lecture, at Iceberg Projects (Chicago), Murray Guy (New York), Temple Gallery (Philadelphia), and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (Texas). He wrote and directed Sex Mitigating Death: On Discourse and Drives: A Meditative Poem, presented March 18th, 2011, at the Tate Modern, London. He also directed and wrote an opera titled The History of Sexuality Volume One By Michel Foucault: An Opera, which premiered at Tanzquartier Wien, Austria.

He is Director of the Low Residency MFA program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and is on the faculty of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program.

Bordowitz has received a Rockefeller Intercultural Arts Fellowship and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, among other grants and awards.

Read More

Discord Icon

Discuss With Our HENI Community

Join the HENI Community on Discord to discuss with over 20,000 community members

Watch More

Watch More