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Condition Report, 2000
Iris digital print
Sheet: 81.3 x 57.8 cm (32 x 22 3/4 in.)
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Margaret Fisher Fund
Department of Prints,
Condition Report consists of two parts (A (left) and B (right)), sheets identical in size, one Iris digital print and one Iris digital print with serigraph.
During their March 1968 strike, the black sanitation workers of Memphis, Tennessee carried placards printed with the words "I AM A MAN." Ernest Withers immortalized the protest and its slogan in a photograph that has become an iconic document of the civil rights movement in the south. (Martin Luther King was assassinated when he went to Memphis to show his support for the strikers.) Glenn Ligon co-opted the format of the strike poster and its declarative statement for a 1988 painting, putting further emphasis on the assertion by underlining its verb, "I AM A MAN." This printed diptych is based on the earlier painting and a fictive condition report that identifies such aberrations as "dark spots" and "brown smudges" on the painting. Besides pointing to the history of African-American oppression, Ligon's prints reference the artistic commodification of that oppression by the art world.
signed: verso lower left in graphite pencil: Glenn Ligon 2000
inscription: verso lower left in graphite pencil: Glenn Ligon 2000
inscription: verso lower right in graphite pencil: 15/20 L
[Sikkema Jenkins & Company, New York, New York], sold; to Harvard University Art Museums, June 2006.
DISSENT!, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 11/11/2006 - 02/25/2007