New York

Glenn Ligon

D’Amelio Terras

Maybe it’s because his black-and-white text paintings referred so dearly to Jasper Johns’s early work, but Glenn Ligon’s brightly colored new paintings bring to mind a notable episode in recent art history (one less universally admired than Johns’s alphabets and therefore all the more interesting): the early-’80s collaborations between Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Or, as the boxing-themed ad for a 1985 exhibition of that work aptly suggested, Warhol vs. Basquiat. Whatever the personal chemistry that fueled that relationship, one could hardly imagine a more irresolvable stylistic discrepancy than that between the older artist’s detached, silk-screened appropriations and his protégé’s raw, scribblelike gestures. But in retrospect, that appearance might have been deceiving: Warhol always tended to romanticize his Americana subjects more than he let on, and Basquiat preferred to play

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