See footage from a new David Hammons show that will make you guess what you think you’re seeing
“David Hammons: Basketball and Kool-Aid“
To see at Nahmad Contemporary
until June 25, 2021
What the gallery says: “Invoking the material concerns of Arte Povera and the conceptual investigations of Marcel Duchamp, David Hammons appropriates the ephemeral of everyday life to explore the cultural and societal sub-texts inherent in materials, images, objects and language . A common thread throughout his multifaceted work, which spans more than 50 years, is an investigation of stereotypes, prejudices and racial identities in the United States. As such, the works “Basketball” (1995-2012) and “Kool-Aid” (2003-2007) explore the constructs of race and cliché associations linked to black American experience and culture.
Why it’s worth a look: David Hammons spend a moment. The inimitable and enigmatic artist, a recluse by the standards of today’s demand that everyone be perfectly self-branded, is the subject of three simultaneous working exhibitions, with his seminal “body prints” (among other works) exhibited at the Design Center in Tribeca; his long-awaited tribute to Gordon Matta-Clark, End of the day, practically done on the Hudson River; and another exhibition at Nahmad Contemporary, where hs presents two rarely exhibited series.
Hammons used his own body as a tool to create works, leaving a mark that is both very personal and points to the larger topic of black bodies being commodified, manipulated and deified. For his basketball designs, Hammons bounced charcoal-coated balls on pristine white paper, creating subtle gradations. The element of luck inherent in bouncing a ball is a nod to the luck in a million offered to exceptional athletes who escape difficult circumstances and advance to the ranks of the professional game.
Kool-Aid works, on the other hand, are done by applying the colored powder to the paper in swirls and bursts resembling watercolor. To add an element of concealment, silk curtains are draped over the works, partially covering them, denying the viewer full understanding or access.
What did he look like:
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