David Hammons - Lévy Gorvy


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.


Selected Works

  • David Hammons

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



Museum Exhibitions

Selected Press

The New Yorker | David Hammons Follows His Own Rules

December 2, 2019

By eluding the art world, Hammons has conquered it.

Artforum | Whitney Museum receives $1 million for David Hammons’s Hudson River artwork

November 22, 2019

The Whitney Museum of American Art has been awarded a $1 million grant from the Keith Haring Foundation …

Dazed Digital | Photographer Dawoud Bey on the Brilliant Art and Mind of David Hammons

May 8, 2019

Dawoud Bey documented the iconoclast's work at a time when the institutionalized art world refused to …

The New York Times | Whitney Museum Unveils Plans for David Hammons Artwork in the Hudson

October 4, 2017

Evoking Manhattan’s past with a strikingly modern vision, the Whitney Museum of American Art unveiled …

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 one …

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 stressed. …

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 and …

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 great …

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 in …

Artnews | David Hammons

April 30, 2011

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

ArtForum | David Hammons

March 31, 2011

In 2007, David Hammons made a show at L&M Arts on Manhattan’s 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 microphones …

Artforum | David Hammons

February 16, 2011

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

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 …

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 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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