David Hammons

David Hammons

David Hammons, one of the world’s most influential living artists, has spent the past five decades combining politics, poetry, and humor to create moving and incisive works of art in a wide variety of media. Born in Illinois in 1943, the artist moved to Los Angeles in 1962, where he studied at numerous schools including the Chouinard Art Institute (now CalArts) and the Otis Art Institute. During his California years the artist became well known for a series of body prints reminiscent of Yven Klein’s “Anthropometry” paintings from 1960, wherein paint-covered models pressed themselves upon canvasses, often as a live performance. Hammons, instead, used his own figure, and in place of colored pigments, covered his body with grease or oil before rubbing up against large sheets of translucent paper. This began the artist’s ongoing use of and experimentation with abject materials, including chicken bones and elephant dung.

In 1974 the artist moved to New York City, where he began to work more sculpturally and also performatively. Never one to shy away from sensitive subject matters, Hammons’ works have reckoned with issues of race, economics, culture, and power. Examples include Pissed Off, 1981, for which the artist urinated on the notorious Richard Serra sculpture, T.W.U., installed the same year; Bliz-aard Ball Sale (1983), for which the artist sold snowballs to passersby, in a mockery of conspicuous consumption and the desire for ownership of even ephemeral objects; and How Ya Like Me Now?, 1989, originally a billboard mounted on a street corner in Washington, D.C., featuring the Reverend Jesse Jackson rendered as a blonde white man

In 1991, Hammons was awarded a MacArthur “Genius” Award. Since then, his work has been included in many seminal exhibitions worldwide, including Documenta, Kassel, Germany, in 1992, the Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY, in 2006, and “Now Dig This!: Art and Black Los Angeles 1960-1980” at the UCLA Hammer Museum, LA, in 2011. His work is part of the permanent collections at major art institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, NY, the Tate, London, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

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Selected Works

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  • Untitled (Basketball Drawing)
    2004
    Dirt on paper
    57 1/2 x 30 1/4 inches (146.1 x 76.8 cm)

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Selected Press

Vogue | 5 Shows to See in London During Frieze Week (That Aren’t at Frieze)

October 14, 2014

Of the very few art fairs legitimately considered absolute-musts, Frieze London is perhaps the only …

Art on a Postcard | Love from Mayfair

October 14, 2014

Frieze week begins. And everyone who has anything to do with the art world feels a little bit more …

Art in America | To Rest Lightly on the Earth

February 1, 2012

In a sequel to his 2009 article “Provisional Painting” the author reflects, via artists named …

ART Magazine | Conversing with David Hammons

December 31, 2011

Intellectual takes away the magic.

Observer | Auld Lang Syne: The Best Exhibitions of 2011 and a Resolution for 2012

December 20, 2011

As 2011 grinds to a halt, itʼs time again for the olʼ “top of the pops” list. Here are five …

The New York Times | Substance and Spectacle

December 16, 2011

YOU can complain all you want about the art-world moneygo-round and the celebrity circus spinning …

Artnews | David Hammons

April 30, 2011

African American conceptualist David Hammons doesn’t play by the rules: no press releases, no titles, …

Art in America | David Hammons

April 30, 2011

David Hammons finds art where it lives and inserts himself as participant and provocateur. In 2007, …

ArtForum | David Hammons

March 31, 2011

In 2007, David Hammons made a show at L&M Arts on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

The New York Times | The Upper East Side Goes Grungy in David Hammons’s Gallery Show

March 1, 2011

The New York artist David Hammons, who has a raved-about show at L&M Arts on the Upper East Side, …

The Observer | A Strange Anamoly: David Hammon's ʻHomelessʼ Art on the Upper East Side

February 22, 2011

In 2003, artist David Hammons presented “Which Mike Would You Like to Be Like,” three vintage …

Artforum | David Hammons

February 16, 2011

In this exhibition, the esteemed New York artist David Hammons revisits themes that were active in …

Bloomberg | Canvas Coverup, Ali in Focus, Green Caribbean; N.Y. Uptown Art

February 15, 2011

As I enter L&M Arts gallery on Manhattan’s 78th Street, I find myself wondering whether I’ve …

TimeOut New York | David Hammons

February 15, 2011

Race is the third rail of American life, the moral hazard that so many in this country refuse to acknowledge.

New York Magazine | Attention Must be Paid

February 15, 2011

David Hammon’s latest tour de force, at L&M Arts, hits you with the kick of a mule. Large, gorgeous …

The New Yorker | Goings on About Town: Art - David Hammons

January 31, 2011

You know it the instant you step in the door: here is marvellous, very possibly great art, a gamechanger …

The Village Voice | Fur What Its Worth

February 27, 2007

David Hammons, the notoriously elusive, much admired, cult-like figure whose work can hit you in the …

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