Somewhere between a scholarly study, a picture book, and an artist’s book, Glenn Ligon’s project examines shifts in the social, cultural, and political history of African-Americans in the post-World-War-II era by analyzing images and graphics on the covers of books written by and about them. Black Covers builds on an exhibition of book jackets drawn from the Givens Collection of African-American Literature at the University of Minnesota that Ligon guest-curated for the Walker Art Center while an artist-in-residence at the museum in 2000. Highly personal yet open to varied interpretation, the selections and groupings in Ligon’s show ranged in focus from close-ups of black faces to the coding of black subject matter in the typography and other graphics used on various covers. Featuring an essay by the artist and extensive full-color reproductions, Ligon’s book will present the sixty book jackets from the 2000 exhibition along with new selections gleaned from research conducted in the archives of Ebony and Jet Magazine.
Glenn Ligon is an artist and writer. He exhibited recently at Regen Projects in Los Angeles, Thomas Dane Gallery in London, and Yvon Lambert Gallery in Paris. His recent writing includes the column “My Felix” (on Felix Gonzalez Torres) in Artforum (Summer 2007) and “Black light: David Hammons and the poetics of emptiness,” also published in Artforum (September 2004).