Hammons reviewed by Steve Cannon

"Hammons" L & M Art Gallery January 18- March 24 2007

45 East 78th St.

New York, NY 10021


Hammons At L&M Arts


Again, Mr. Hammons, including this time Ms. Hammons. He's at it again.

Instead of tricking the art world it feels as though the art world's tricking him, since he's moved beyond the beyond.

It's a long way from selling snow balls on St. Mark's Place on Second Avenue, and higher goals placed in an empty lot in Harlem are a showcase for bigger shoes -- as if that were a new phenomenon.

Surprise surprise. Don't even talk about Mr. Hammons and his blackness, his celebration of Marcus Garvey, or his flag of black liberation which can be found atop the Museum of Modern Art in Barcelona, among other places. He turned off all the lights at the East Gallery in SoHo and that was the show: a celebration of blackness.

Now of course comes the question: whether he'd go from there to here.

Being blind, I'm in to sounds, not sights. Mr. Hammons' next foray was an invisible art show here at Tribes. He outlined the paintings on the wall with charcoal, then he took down the paintings and left the outlines. Now you see it, now you don't.

And the last time we spoke he told me a curator had invited him to do a show in Germany about rain, and he asked, "Why not sunshine?"

So I had no idea what to expect when I walked into the exhibition at L&M Arts on New York's Upper East Side as he walked me through the show.

And there it was: upscale expensive fur coats with paint splattered on the back.

What statement was that? Who was poking fun at whom? Were rich folks poking fun at David or was it the other way around? Besides, what about the sounds?

From the feeling I got when he made me feel the fur coats, as expensive as they were, I got an image in my head of super rich white folks walking through the mean streets in any given third world country, including the states, being ridiculed by the poor and having their rich clothes trashed.

So it becomes a question of what makes us human: the attire that we wear or the way that we socialize and communicate with one another? Or, as David Hammons would have it -- ripping off Tina Turner -- "What's love got to do with it?" From where I sit, it feels like Mr. Hammons had done it again. Commodities minus bodies.

--Steve Cannon