Kwamé Sorrell, Fifteen Works by David Hammons

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"That’s why I like doing stuff better on the street, because the art becomes just one of the objects that’s in the path of your everyday existence. It’s what you move through, and it doesn’t have any seniority over anything else." — David Hammons

This limited edition publication by Kwamé Sorrell of BlackMass Publishing collects together fifteen works by American artist David Hammons. Each of the 15 copies published is accompanied by a single photograph of one of the works, meaning that each is unique. The book is a modest object, staple-bound and A5 in format. But its power is strong. 

David Hammons was born in Springfield, Illinois on July 24, 1943. He moved to Los Angeles in 1962,  attending CalArts from 1966-1968, and the Otis Art Institute from 1968-1972, where he was inspired by artists such as Bruce Nauman, John Baldessari, Charles White, and Chris Burden. In 1974, Hammons settled in New York City. Over the past five decades, Hammons has created a versatile body of work that explores the experience of African-American life and the role of race within American society. He began his career in Los Angeles in the late 1960s, where he was influenced by the politically charged imagery of the Black Arts Movement, the found-object assemblages of Dada, and the humble materials of Arte Povera. His first notable work is his series of Body Prints done in the 1960s and ’70s. Life-size representations of his own figure would be transferred to the support by coating his skin and hair with margarine and pressing his greased body onto the paper, then covering those sections with pigment powder. These images would be paired with politically charged symbols such as the American flag. After his move to New York in the mid-1970s, Hammons disengaged from two-dimensional works, preferring to devote his practice entirely to sculptural assemblage, installation, and performance, in which he would employ provocative materials such as elephant dung, chicken parts, strands of hair, and bottles of cheap wine. Centered in the Black urban experience, Hammons often uses sarcasm and humor as a means of confronting the cultural stereotypes and racial issues at the core of his practice.

BlackMass Publishing is an independent press promoting and publishing material by Black Artists.

Founded by Yusuf Hassan in 2019, BlackMass Publishing is a New York-based collective and independent press promoting and publishing material by Black Artists. BlackMass Publishing is interested in facilitating conversation while fostering community through visual language; focusing on Blackness, it’s effects and affects through representations in images and text.

BlackMass have publications included in the permanent book collections of the Schomburg for Research in black culture Harlem (New York), RAW Material Company (Dakar), The Center For Book Arts (New York), The Watson Library at The MET, The New York Public Library, The New York Langston Hughes Library, and The Evergreen State College.