TABLE OF CONTENTS

MAKE IT FUNNY: THE ART OF DAVID HAMMONS

DAVID HAMMONS’ ART PROVOKES EXTREME REACTIONS. Some consider him a genius, a high priest of postmodernism; others dismiss him as arrogant and overrated, even a charlatan. Hammons himself is notorious for trapping people into hating him. He doesn’t hide his contempt for the art market, often making objects that disappear as quickly as they are completed, like snowballs, or working with items that are unsuitable for the museum environment, like chicken wings and barbecued ribs. He frequently keeps his work secret, rejects most invitations to exhibit, and generally won’t discuss its meaning (his motto is, “Those who know, don’t show”). He likes to choose his audiences spontaneously and let them spread the word between Harlem and SoHo. Like the work of his heroes Sun Ra and Thelonious Monk, Hammons’ art is decidedly anti-art.

The use of art against art is, of course, a familiar strategy by now,

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the May 1998 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.