Beginning 16 November, renowned American artist Glenn Ligon will debut all new works in a presentation spanning two floors of Hauser & Wirth’s 22nd Street building. Continuing his four decades-long exploration of American history, literature, and society, ‘It’s Always a Little Bit Not Yet’ finds Ligon building upon his text-based works that draw from the influential words of leading 20th century cultural figures, including his ongoing series of neon installation and debris field paintings. The exhibition will also feature a monumental triptych, ‘Stranger (Full Text) #2’ (2020-2021), from Ligon’s ‘Stranger’ painting series begun in 1997. In the series, Ligon renders excerpts from James Baldwin’s 1953 essay ‘Stranger in the Village,’ in which the famed writer and activist describes his experience visiting a small town in Switzerland. Measuring 45 feet long, this new benchmark work utilizes Baldwin’s essay in its entirety.
‘It’s Always a Little Bit Not Yet’ is accompanied by a new Hauser & Wirth publication titled ‘Glenn Ligon: Work, Work, Work, Work, Work, Work,’ featuring Ligon’s own documentation of his studio and practice, offering a glimpse into the way the artist sees his work and understands his process. Conceived by Ligon, this artist book focuses on the past four years, tracing the trajectory of his artmaking and intimately chronicling the development of paintings, neons, and works on paper, as well as time spent in his studio spaces and other personal moments. The images are set in conversation with ‘Soihu V’voihu (for Glenn Ligon),’ a new poem by writer and artist Gregg Bordowitz that uses the form of multiple haikus to explore the juxtapositions, geometries, and associations surrounding Ligon’s work.