new-york

David Hammons

Ace Gallery

By all accounts, the opening for David Hammons’s Concerto in Black and Blue, 2002, was magical. Rather than put objects on display or represent the depth of his artistic practice—which ranges from film and video to performance to works on paper—Hammons chose to present virtually nothing. Not only did he leave the more than twenty-thousand-square-foot space completely empty, he turned out all the lights, creating a deeply immersive environment with the flick of a switch. And rather than provide visitors with something to see, Hammons (who is known for his economy of means) gave them something to do: navigate cavernous darkness with a tiny “blue light,” a pressure-activated LED flashlight no bigger than a quarter. At the opening, accompanied by live traditional Japanese music, 1,500 individual blue beams whirled in velvety black space—dancing, drawing, illuminating their way into an

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