David Hammons was born in 1943 in Springfield, Illinois. An African-American, he is a conceptual installation artist using his found-object media as a platform for Dadaist social commentary, primarily on racial themes. Hammons places himself as an artist between Arte Povera and Marcel Duchamp. He has risen to prominence while at the same time consciously avoiding the attention of critics, galleries, and museums, preferring to do things in the street.
David Hammons has been inspired by the Arte Povera, Art which is not an impoverished art, but an art with an emphasis on materials and processes. He also thinks the art audience is the worst audience in the word: "it's overly educated, it's conservative, it's out to criticize not to understand, and it never had any fun. Why should I spend my time playing to that audience?" - Interview with David Hammons by dept of Modern culture and Media at Brown.
Today I read The Walker by Peter Schjeldahl Rediscovering New York with David Hammons Issue of 2002-12-23 and 30. Having extensively studied in Paris contemporary aesthetics and philosophy of art, at some point in my life I felt a bit brain-washed by this idea that any form of expression must be controlled while 'passion' and 'feeling' should not drive any parts of the conceptual work. Reading this article was refreshing for that reason. I picked my favorite part from the article:
I didn't ask him what it's like being black in a profession that remains overwhelmingly white. But he volunteered, "It's like being a white man in the jazz world, like Chet Baker or Gerry Mulligan. They had confidence. I feed off the confidence of jazz greats like them." He disparaged the academic ironies of younger artists, including blacks, who pose as subversives. He said, "I'm the C.E.O. of the D.O.C.—the Duchamp Outpatient Clinic. We have a vaccine for that smartness virus that's been in the art world for the last fifty years." The cure may be expressive activity that is streetwise, heartfelt, and utterly matter-of-fact.
... so refreshing!