Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery – Glenn Ligon

1156 High Street - Porter College, University of California Santa Cruz,
Santa Cruz, 95064
First Friday Artist Image
12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Full run of show Apr 14, 2022 - Aug 14, 2022

Glenn Ligon: From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation brings together works on paper by Glenn Ligon, which explore how constructions of blackness in the United States infuse popular culture, literature, and history. Featuring the series “Narratives,” 1993, Self Portrait at Nine Years Old (James Brown), 2008, and End of Year Reports, 2003, among other artworks, the exhibition provides insights into Ligon’s long-running aesthetic interrogations into his personal social positioning and experiences as a queer, Black man. The structures and histories that make these shared identity categories are also made subject in the artist's critical examination.The artworks engage the entangled histories of race, literature, and culture, with a broad range of references from slave narratives to children’s coloring books. Together, they poignantly articulate the role of language and popular culture in the structuring of the self—and society—in both the past and present.Admission to the Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery at UC Santa Cruz is always free and open to the public.


Glenn Ligon: From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation is organized for the UC Santa Cruz Institute of the Arts and Sciences. 

The exhibition is made possible with generous support from the Nion McEvoy Family Fund, Wanda Kownacki, Rowland and Pat Rebele, and annual donors to the Institute of the Arts and Sciences. Funding for the Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery is provided by the Charles Griffin Farr Endowment, Molly Cliff Hilts Memorial Fund, Porter College, UC Santa Cruz Division of the Arts, and generous individual donors.


Glenn Ligon (b. 1960) is known for his landmark text-based paintings, made since the late 1980s, which draw on the influential writings and speech of 20th-century cultural figures including James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, Jean Genet, and Richard Pryor. His work has been shown at major museums across the world, and in 2011 the Whitney Museum of American Art held a mid-career retrospective of Ligon’s work. He has had solo museum exhibitions at the Camden Arts Centre, London; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Studio Museum, Harlem; among others.


We invite you also to Strange Weather: From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation, on view at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, April 14–August 14, 2022. Admission is free to the MAH for UCSC students, staff, and faculty.