Malcolm X (Version 1) #1, 2000, via lacma
Glenn Ligon's retrospective has now moved from the Whitney to the LA County Museum, and LACMA's blog posted an interview clip with Ligon where he discusses his Coloring series, which have been on DT before. The artist based his paintings on kids' drawings made in educational coloring books from the early 1970s that depicted historical African American figures like Malcolm X and Harriet Tubman:
There was a very interesting political agenda behind these coloring book images.
But if you give a kid a coloring book, either they want to color the images or they don't. And those kind of adult agendas behind the images are irrelevant to them. And so, even if I would try to say to a 5-year-old, "This is Malcolm X. Oh, he looks like you." I realized I needed to let these kids do what they were gonna do. So they made drawings on these images, and then I used their drawings to make the paintings that are in the show.