If you were to visit the White House, you would find the work of the groundbreaking African-American artist and Bronx native Glenn Ligon. The Obamas selected his 1992 work, Black Like Me No. 2, which repeats the phrase, âAll the traces of the Griffin I had been were wiped from existence,â a line from John Howard Griffinâs famous book, until the text gradually blurs and becomes illegible. Ligon, who is gay, rose up in the late 1980s and early 1990s as the leader of a movement in art that defiantly challenged traditional definitions of race and sexuality. The Whitney presents his first comprehensive mid-career retrospective of about 100 works, including paintings, prints, photography, drawings, and sculptural installations. On March 23 at 8, see his latest video piece, âThe Death of Tom,â an âabstractionist recreationâ of the final scene of Edwin S. Porterâs 1903 silent movie Uncle Tomâs Cabin, with a new soundtrack by jazz pianist Jason Moran. A talk with Ligon and Moran will follow the performance.
Wed., March 23, 8 p.m., 2011