David Hammons, American born 1943, began making body prints when he was in Los Angeles to which he had traveled from his native Springfield, IL when he was 20.
Picking up a technique used by Yves Klein, he coated his head and body with margarine and pressed the greased areas down on large sheets of paper. He dusted the resulting image with pigment.
These are two such prints. They were made during a time of widespread racial ferment in the United States.
Close Your Eyes and See Black, 1969, pigment on gold-coated paperboard (with light interference).
David Hammons, American born 1943. Solomon R. Guggenheim, NY.
Pray For America, 1969, pigment and screenprint on paper, and detail.
David Hammons, American, born 1943. A gift promised to MOMA, NY and the Studio Museum in Harlem, NY
The spade series came after the artist’s body prints. ‘Spade’ is a derogatory word used for Black people.
Three Spades, 1971, bodyprint and screenprint on paper.
David Hammons, American born 1943. Glenstone Museum, Potomac, Maryland on loan to Brooklyn Museum, NY in 2018/19. Image from the web.
The artist, among the foremost American artists working today, is approaching his 80th year.
Keeping control over how and where his work – that which he owns – is shown and under what conditions and at what price, he continues to show up the way that power and money and race work, or don’t, in the United States.