The famously reclusive David Hammons has made himself surprisingly visible in 2019. In May, Hauser & Wirth
opened a sprawling exhibition of his work at its Los Angeles gallery. More recently, the Whitney Museum
launched a trailer
for the artist’s forthcoming, permanent public artwork, Day’s End
(2020), which will open next fall. Hammons himself appears in the video, which discusses his attempt to rethink New York history and the country’s approach to monuments as he creates a skeleton pier off Manhattan’s west side. Hammons also granted New Yorker
writer Calvin Tomkins a rare interview for a profile
which runs in print this week.
While Hammons’s work has appeared intermittently at art fairs, that context is still jarring. This year, both Mnuchin Gallery and Hauser & Wirth presented pieces by Hammons. Writer and curator Antwaun Sargent noted that African American Flag (1990; sold for $1.5 million) and Untitled (Silver Tapestry) (2008; sold for $2.4 million) stopped him “dead in [his] tracks.” They were shocking to see, Sargent said, given Hammons’s “longstanding distaste of the market, museums, press, and the art-world audience. Perhaps, in his eighth decade, he has decided to do things differently? We may never know.”