David Hammons US, b. 1943


"I can't stand art actually. I've never, ever liked art, ever. I never took it in school."


- David Hammons

David Hammons (1943-) is an installation and performance artist born in Springfield, IL. In 1962, Hammons moved to Los Angeles, CA. He attended the Chouinard Art Institute from 1966 to 1968, and the Otis Art Institute from 1968 to 1972. In 1974, he moved to New York City, where he gained notoriety during the 1970s and 1980s for his work.


Much of Hammons’s art contains materials that are outside the norm, including things such as elephant dung, bottles of cheap wine, and chicken bones. His first notable work was a series called Body Prints, which were pieces he created by imprinting greased body parts on paper. His work had a sarcastic element as he took on racial and cultural issues. For Bliz-aard Ball Sale, a street art piece Hammons created in 1983, the artist stood on a corner selling neatly arranged snowballs of varying sizes during a winter snowstorm. His most controversial work was a billboard he created in 1988, in which he painted a blond-haired, blue-eyed, white Jesse Jackson. Written on the billboard was “How You Like Me Now?” The work was attacked by a group of young black men with sledgehammers and destroyed. In 1990, one of his untitled installation artworks involved putting urinals on trees.


Hammons received the MacArthur Fellowship in July of 1991. Concerto in Black and Blue, an exhibit he created in 2002, was 20,000 feet of empty, unlit space in New York’s Ace Gallery, in which viewers stumbled around in the dark with flashlights. In 2004, he created a piece called Rock Head, in which he took a boulder he discovered in Harlem and glued African American hair he collected from a barber shop to it. His work can be found in numerous public collections including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, IL; The Museum of Modern Art in New York, NY; and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN. He currently lives and works in New York City.