Glenn Ligon


I make text-based paintings. Because the texts in my paintings are always quotations, I read a lot. When I read, I sit at this table in my studio. I am not reading in the picture because I can't pretend to read when someone is taking my picture. The curtain behind me hides the place where I keep my tools—paint, canvases, stretchers. On the table are plastic letter stencils covered in paint. I use the stencils to make the texts. I am wearing gloves because the paint on the stencils is wet. To make words with paint is a messy business. Because my paintings are messy, the words are often hard to read. That my paintings are messy and hard to read is part of the point. Words are messy things.