Glenn Ligon: Neon

  • Dec 9, 2022

For the third film in our Material series, Glenn Ligon takes us upstate to Kingston, New York, to watch his long-time collaborator, Matt Dilling, the founder of Lite Brite Neon, transform glass tubing and noble gases into vivid language and forms. Founded in 1999, Lite Brite has been a pioneer in helping contemporary artists incorporate neon into their work.

Detail view of production, Lite Brite Neon, Kingston, NY.

Glenn Ligon's Untitled (America/Me) (2022) in progress at Lite Brite Neon.

“Paint is a material,” Ligon says. “Language is a material. Neon is a material. I'm interested in playing with that word [“America”] as material. So to cross it out, to invert it, to put it upside down, to make it blink off and on obnoxiously. It’s all a way of playing with this word when we think we know what it means.”


Material is a film series exploring the physical matter of art-making, taking us further into artists' creative process through deeper engagement with a single material. Revisit Matsutani's Glue and Party's Pastel.