David Hammons: Selected Works
Zwirner & Wirth will present a selection of works from the last three decades by the influential and enigmatic artist David Hammons.
By working in a variety of different media and with an utterly unique choice of materials, Hammons creates art that defies easy categorization. In his
own words, the artist has aptly positioned his work "somewhere between Marcel Duchamp, outsider art, and Arte Povera." In his sculptures and installations, Hammons typically makes use of found materials, bringing everyday objects culled from "street" culture into the pristine space of art galleries and museums. Hammons transforms discarded remnants such as chicken bones, liquor bottles, and barbershop hair into delicate, beautiful assemblages that open themselves to multiple readings. Through the contextual shifts that take place with his minimal gestures and sly sense of humor, Hammons' artwork functions to reveal and undermine racial and societal stereotypes. By introducing elements of urban culture into his sculptures and installations, he refers his viewers to obscured histories and discourses not normally presented in "high" culture. Hammons has described his own practice as "tragic magic," in which he takes "the discarded vestiges of black life and transforms them, restoring to them a lost potency reinvested with the power of the fetish."
Often, Hammons' work makes reference to the body and its functions and gestures. Works such as Cigarette Holder, 1990, a makeshift candelabrum of Lucky Strike cigarettes, conjure forth a bodily materiality. Other works similarly function as figurative surrogates, such as Rubber Dread, 1989, made of rubber bicycle tire inner-tubes woven together to evoke dreadlocks and Untitled, 2004, which is one of Hammons' series of "heads", made of stone covered in hair that has been taken from a Harlem barbershop.