Aaron Hicklin has been asking people to name their favorite books in an ongoing T magazine feature, and the series’s most recent installment has the American conceptual artist Glenn Ligon revealing what’s on his bookshelf.
Considering Ligon’s interest in race and politics, it’s not surprising that he loves Claudia Rankine’s National Book Award finalist Citizen, a prose-poetry meditation on blackness in America. Ligon, like many other critics, admires Rankine’s complex political views. Ligon says:
Claudia Rankine’s book-length poem Citizen was nominated for National Book Critics Circle awards in the categories of poetry and criticism. It is one of the most devastating takes on American culture I have read in a long time, laying bare the stakes of being black in a country long ambivalent about our presence here.
Ligon also loves a good book on art. He calls Kippenberger: The Artist and His Families, Susanne Kippenberger’s ode to her brother, the Neo-Expressionist Martin Kippenberger, “a perfect introduction to a time when bad boys ruled the art world.”
He’s also turned on by Oliver Sacks. Here’s Ligon on Sacks’s memoir, On the Move: A Life:
“Look at that cover image of him all Marlon Brando in leather and jeans astride a motorcycle. Hot. And the book is good too.”
(We resisted calling this story “Glenn Ligon on Oliver Sacks: ‘Hot.’ ”)