MacArthur Fellows Program

David Hammons

Sculptor and Installation Artist | Class of 1991

Sculptor and Installation Artist
New York, New York
48 at time of award
Area of Focus
3-D Visual Art
Published July 1, 1991

About David's Work

David Hammons is a visual artist who creates ephemeral sculptures and site-specific works that fuse the American urban experience with traditionally African cultural practices.

Known for his use of poignant sarcasm and clever puns to force viewers to confront cultural stereotypes and racial issues, Hammons’ work has a compelling lyricism.  Rooted in the black, urban experience, Hammons creates art works that combine references to racism, homelessness, unemployment, and poverty with a feeling for the melancholy elegance and energy of jazz.  He often transforms found materials, discarded items and refuse, such as chicken and rib bones, bottle caps, and 45-rpm records, into imaginative statements.  His oeuvre has included sculptural works ranging from stones fitted with human hair to baroque basketball hoops, as well as performance and minimalist installation pieces that represent the mundane occurrences of everyday life.


Hammons has had numerous solo exhibitions and has participated in major group shows.  His works have been exhibited at the P.S. 1 Museum, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the American Academy in Rome.

Hammons attended the Chouinard School of Art in Los Angeles (1966-68) and the Otis Art Institute of the Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles (1968-72).

Last updated January 1, 2005

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