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Untitled (Crowd/The Fire Next Time)

Not on view

Untitled (Crowd/The Fire Next Time)

Artist: Glenn Ligon (American, born 1960)

Date: 2000
Medium: Photographic silkscreen with coal dust on white Magnani Incisione paper
Overall: 20 x 28in. (50.8 x 71.1cm)
Framed: 33 × 43in. (83.8 × 109.2cm)
Inscribed: Recto, lower left: blind chop from printshop in form of arm w/ roller; lower left (graphite): 11/30; lower right (graphite): Glen Ligon 2000
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object number: 2000.17
Label Text
The photograph in this print was taken at the "Million Man March," organized by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farakhan, in October 1995, Washington, D.C. Ligon extracted the text-"something in me wondered, what will happen to all that beauty?"-from a James Baldwin essay, "Letter from a Region in My Mind," published in The New Yorker magazine, November 17, 1962. Baldwin reflected on the condition of African-Americans in the United States at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. He recognized the potential for a "cosmic vengeance" by African-Americans against "the intransigence and ignorance of the white world," but further believed that the "racial nightmare" might be averted by the efforts of people of conscience, black and white alike. If these efforts to address bigotry did not succeed, however, Baldwin warned that the Biblical prophecy, interpreted in a slave song, might be fulfilled: "God gave Noah the rainbow sign, No more water, the fire next time!" Forty years later, artist Glenn Ligon asked if any progress away from the nightmare has been made, or if the United States continues to move toward the "fire."

© Glenn Ligon