Glenn Ligon's ‘Rückenfigur’ consists of the word AMERICA spelled out in white neon, the letters turned in reverse to face the wall. Because the A, I, and M are symmetrical, it takes a moment before the reverse orientation of the word sinks in. Viewers are able to read normally for a moment, happily implicated in the frame, before they realize that they are standing on the outside. •
We recently announced that @glennligon and @therealmargaretatwood will be honored at this year’s #HammerGala in October.
This work was featured in our 2014 exhibition ‘Take It or Leave It: Institution, Image, Ideology,’ the first large-scale exhibition to focus on the intersection of two vitally important genres of contemporary art: appropriation and institutional critique. All works from the exhibition are now available in our digital archive, along with essays, artist biographies, and a chronology from the exhibition catalogue.
Glenn Ligon, ‘Rückenfigur,’ 2009. Neon, black paint. 24 x 145 1/2 x 4 in. (61 x 369.6 x 10.2 cm). Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Gift of the 2010 Collectors Committee. Installation view at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; photography by Brian Forrest.