Skip Navigation

[Untitled] (Cancellation Prints)

Contemporary Art

Glenn Ligon is known for his use of stenciled quotations. In 2003 he discovered that one of his earlier print projects, featuring text from author Zora Neale Hurston’s 1928 essay “How It Feels to Be Colored Me,” had not been cancelled by the printer. (Cancellation of a series, by marking the plates with an X, ensures that no unauthorized copies of an artist’s work can be made.) For [Untitled] (Cancellation Prints), Ligon himself cancelled the plates by drawing large drypoint Xs over the stenciling—but then authorized an edition from them anyway. As he explained:

Cancelled but present, new but haunted by the ghosts of their earlier meanings, the prints speak to the mutability of questions of racial identity and a shift in the cultural context in which the original works were received.
MEDIUM Hardground, softground, aquatint and spit bite etching with drypoint
DATES 1992–2003
DIMENSIONS Sheet: 28 1/4 x 20 in. (71.8 x 50.8 cm) Image: 24 x 15 3/4 in. (61 x 40 cm)  (show scale)
SIGNATURE Each signed and dated lower right in graphite: "Glen Ligon '03
COLLECTIONS Contemporary Art
CREDIT LINE Robert A. Levinson Fund and gift of Dr. and Mrs. Frank L. Babbott, by exchange
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Glenn Ligon (American, born 1960). [Untitled] (Cancellation Prints), 1992–2003. Hardground, softground, aquatint and spit bite etching with drypoint, Sheet: 28 1/4 x 20 in. (71.8 x 50.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Robert A. Levinson Fund and gift of Dr. and Mrs. Frank L. Babbott, by exchange, 2003.60a-b. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2003.60a_PS9.jpg)
EDITION Edition: 4/15 Edition of 15 with 5 aps
IMAGE component, 2003.60a_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2017
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
RIGHTS STATEMENT © Glenn Ligon, Courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York, Regen Projects, Los Angeles
The Brooklyn Museum holds a non-exclusive license to reproduce images of this work of art from the rights holder named here. The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act. For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact If you wish to contact the rights holder for this work, please email and we will assist if we can.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.