July 21, 2009

Ruh Roh! Glenn Ligon Colored [sic] Coloring Book Paintings


So remember how tight that concept was of that one Charleston, SC artist, who decided to make a civil rights coloring book, then have actual kids color it, then turn those into paintings a couple of years ago?

Yeah, well, turns out Glenn Ligon, one of the leading African American artists outside of Charleston had almost the exact same idea as early as 1999. That's when Ligon was an artist-in-residence at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, where he studied the contemporary history of black folk in coloring books--and/or coloring books for black folk--at the University of Minnesota. He put on an exhibition of children's coloring books that reflected the shifts of the civil rights and Black Power movements, and then he reproduced some of these vintage pages for a kid's education and artmaking program at the museum.


For his one-man exhibition in 2000, Ligon showed some of these kids' interpretations--Malcolm X with pink hair and lipstick, for example--alongside his own blown up, painted versions.

Exhibition: COLORING: NEW WORK BY GLENN LIGON, 2000-2001 [walkerart.org]
A-I-R: Glenn Ligon, with lnk to video from the show at the bottom [walkerart.org]

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