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Untitled

David Hammons (b. 1943) Untitled, 1976 Body print with oil pastel and embossing 25 1/2 × 19 1/2 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem; gift of Glenn Ligon 2016.17

Known for his wry and provocative works that reflect on the African-American experience while subverting art market commercialism and normative art audiences, multimedia artist David Hammons is a critical pioneer in performance art and assemblage. Hammons incorporated performance and his own body into this untitled body print, pressing his grease-covered body on paper with a series of movements and multiple impressions. He then sprinkled the paper with powdered pigment to reveal traces of his body and face that were abstracted and transformed by the process. The resulting work is embedded with identity politics and critically questions the implications of the historical reduction of the Black male body to physical features. By using his body in performance and as material, Hammons challenges audiences to face their prejudices.

Artist in Residence 1980–81