The vandalism inflicted on the work at its unveiling ultimately became a part of it. That's why it's called 'Higher Goals.' Veuillez entrer une adresse email valide. Private Collection. Shortly after the painting was installed, without a label or any other indication that it was a work of art, a group of young black workers attacked the billboard with sledgehammers, partially destroying it. Because I remember being called a spade once, and I didn’t know what it meant… so I took the shape, and started painting it." As Ellie Clarke has stated, "Many argue that the framing of an icon of black political solidarity with hip-hop graffiti was a way in which Hammons comments on the disparity between the civil rights generation and the incipient hip-hop generation. One artist to come out of that moment was David Hammons, an artist who worked in Los Angeles and New York across a variety of mediums—sculptural, painting, and video. David Hammons eschews the spotlight and rebels against the conventions of the art world. An idealized representation of female beauty, David's painting, which hung in the Louvre from the mid-nineteenth century, was influential to future painters, including Édouard Manet and his 1863 painting Olympia. Depicting Jackson with pale skin, blond hair, and blue eyes, alluded to the belief that even the most influential black cultural figures were expected to assimilate into white culture. In combining African-American hair with an object that references art history and depictions of female beauty, Hammons questions the history of representation and its erasure of difference. Hammons doesn't work in any consistent medium or using any formal or academic theory—he famously has said, "I can't stand art actually." Hammons’ artworks often appropriate and undermine objects, activities and stereotypes with heighted racial and cultural baggage. SPADE, 1972 Sale Date: May 17, 2018. ©2018 Artnet Worldwide Corporation. These X-ray-like images were then juxtaposed with politically charged symbols, like the American flag, which were silkscreened onto the canvas or paper after the body images were fixed. Subscribe to our newsletter and receive exclusive content about our auctions, exhibitions, and special events. silkscreened body print in artist's frame. I love how much of Hammons is present in these prints—the bits of beard hair, his wrinkly clothes, the veins on the back of his hand. : Art and Black Los Angeles 1960–1980 is up indefinitely at the Hammer Museum—crack open a Trader Joe's cheese plate and a can of sparkling wine and enjoy! Dimensions. Since the 1960s, David Hammons has confronted American cultural stereotypes and racial issues through wittily incisive sculptures, installations, performances, and body prints. But more importantly, its presence in the nation's capital during Jesse Jackson's second run for President was an overtly political act. "David Hammons Artist Overview and Analysis". By the 1970s, Hammons had moved to New York, and began to shift his focus to popular symbols and language. This was part of a larger series of "Spade" works in the 1970s, including Bird (1973), where Charlie Parker is evoked by a spade emerging from a saxophone, and Spade, a 1974 print where the artist pressed his face against the shape leaving a caricature-like imprint of Negroid features. The American flag is thus a powerful symbol of lives forgotten and promises broken. The use of the quotation How Ya Like Me Now from eighties rap with the image of a prominent civil rights leader brings into question the nature of racism in American culture and politics. Meant to represent abstract ideals of purity, valor and justice, the red, white and blue have been replaced by red, black, and green of the Pan-African flag, which represent "...the blood, skin tone, and the natural resource richness of the African land." In Hair Relaxer, Hammons creates a visual pun that refers to the chemical process for relaxing hair. Produced at a fraught moment in American history - a time of political assassinations, civic unrest, racial injustice, and national protests - Hammons asks the viewer to contemplate this history and its consequences. Facing the National Portrait Gallery, the painting was a comment on the lack of diversity in the institution's collection. David Hammons recalls "I was called a spade once, and I didn't know what it meant ... so I just took the shape and started painting it...Then I started getting shovels (spades); I got all of these shovels and made masks out of them. Much of Hammons' Body Prints coincide with his work identifying radicalized representation. Legends are held in the hearts of elders and recounted to friends and family members in extreme detail. [Internet]. In this 1973 work, Hammons turns the garden spade upright and attaches a series of draped chains that allude to African masks, but also to the legacy of slavery and to the ways that language can be used to bind and oppress. Working in the context of the urban and social landscape, Higher Goals continued Hammons' exploration of racially charged symbols, but brought the work into the urban environment. Long a powerful symbol in African-American social, political and cultural life, the Pan-African flag was adopted by Marcus Harvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League in the 1920s, and went on to become an emblem of the civil rights struggles in the 1960s and 70s. Photo by Alex Jamison/Courtesy of Hammer Museum.