New York

Glenn Ligon

D'Amelio Terras

Since the days when Max Ernst’s La Femme 100 têtes spoke in psychoanalytic tongues, artists have actively pursued the implications of identification, projection, transference, and desire, unveiling in the process just how unstable and contingent any cohesive notion of the “self” really is. The unruly unconscious supplied a language—if cacophonous—with which to question conventions of subjectivity while proposing a plethora of “difference.” From the early ’70s on, then, psychoanalysis’s most adamant advocates came from the margins, using methods culled from the couch to engage the politics of gender, race, and sexuality—to reveal both the workings of the id and the cultural mechanisms conceived to quiet and conceal it.

In light of this history, perhaps it’s no surprise that Glenn Ligon, whose work has been rooted in investigations of identity for over a decade, turned his attention to the

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