Installation view of Inbox: Glenn Ligon. Shown: Glenn Ligon. Figure. 2001. Set of 50 screenprints, each: 9 × 6″ (22.9 × 15.2 cm). Acquired through the generosity of the Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Committee on Drawings and Prints Fund and Lonti Ebers. © 2017 Glenn Ligon. Photo: John Wronn

Since the 1990s, Glenn Ligon has drawn on a mix of art, literature, history, and autobiography as a means of reflecting on the construction of sexual, racial, gender, and personal identity. His work takes many forms, from neon sculptures and video installations to text-based paintings and drawings. Figure comprises 50 self-portraits printed on brightly colored, identically sized sheets of paper. The depictions are evenly split between frontal and rear views, simultaneously revealing and concealing the identity of the sitter. The screenprint process used here allows for variation in the final image depending on how much ink or pressure is applied during the printing; while the impressions are made from the same two matrices, each looks quite different, suggesting the numerous traits and facets of a single individual.

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