46. Ruckenfigur by Glenn Ligon, 2009

Glenn Ligon, known for his artistic explorations of race, sex, and identity, created this piece as America's name in lights. The term "rückenfigur" typically refers to a figure in a painting, seen from behind, who is usually contemplating a landscape. Ligon's neon sign infers that AMERICA has turned its back on the viewers, which was a powerful moment for the arts in 2009.

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