Wine Spectator: David Hammons Draws On Stereotypes to Make a Statement

WASHINGTON, DC—David Hammons’s bio always begins by referencing that his work reflects his commitment to the civil rights and black power movements. The clearest evidence of this is his iconic “U.N.I.A Flag (African-American Flag).” Created in 1990, it re-imagines Old Glory in red, black and green.



His “Untitled” sculpture composed of bottles of Night Train at the Hirshhorn is representative of one of the other major themes of his work.

As noted for a retrospective at Zwirner & Wirth a few years ago: “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.”

Photos by Arts Observer


“Untitled,” 1989 (glass wine bottles and silicon glue).

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