The Easel

9th November 2021

Inside Glenn Ligon’s Groundbreaking Solo Show at Hauser & Wirth

Ligon enjoys “Olympian” status among contemporary American artists. Stenciled text paintings have, for decades, been his calling card. They carry overt political content – the erasure of African Americans in their society. But they are more, cleverly illustrating the slipperiness of language and the “tug-of-war between pure abstraction and dusty figuration”. A new show features more ambiguous text works. Don’t ask Ligon for an explanation, though – his job, he says, is just to ask “good questions”.

2nd November 2021

The Triumph of Rubens

When we think Rubens, we think sensual, fleshy bodies. Yet he was also a scholar and diplomat. An “all-encompassing interest” in the art of antiquity links what otherwise might seem divergent. He admired ancient sculptures and their buff bodies. Alluding to their mythologies in his own art made him seem learned, accomplished. But his exuberant re-working of those ideas makes his work truly his own, “part of his narrative, part of the expression that he’s bringing to these ideas.’