Spring, 1964; a shopkeeper in Harlem is murdered. Six men are arrested for the crime. They were severely beaten by police, refused their on lawyers, and the case quickly became headline news. Civil rights activists, politicians, and artists all raised their voices over the treatment of black prisoners.
One such artist was Steve Reich, who was asked to compose a piece for a benefit concert at Town Hall in New York City in 1966. He used recorded court case testimonials by one of the accused men, Daniel Hamm. Hamm stated that 'I had to, like, open the bruise up, and let some of the bruise blood come out to show them.'
Reich honed in on a particular phrase from this testimony. 'Come out', which he repeated again and again in his composition. Inspired by the hypnotic tone of this work, New York artist, Glenn Ligon has responded by creating his own visual version. Come Out is an exhibition at the Thomas Dane Gallery that runs until 22nd March. Entry is free, and you will be able to explore three canvases produced by Ligon, which repeat the phrase 'Come Out and Show Them'. Each canvas is densely layered, each one more so than the other. By the end of the last piece, the words are almost abstract, mimicking how they would become slurred in speech if repeated again and again.