David Hammons is not looking to take a break any time soon. The Springfield-born artist continues his series of successful exhibitions — after the unveiling of his permanent Day’s End sculpture at the Hudson River Park near the Whitney Museum, and a survey of the artist’s body prints at the Drawing Center — Hammons is now displaying thought-provoking works at Nahmad Contemporary.
The exhibition is titled Basketball & Kool-Aid, and features a selection of pieces developed from ragged basketballs sourced from New York’s Harlem neighborhood combined with Kool-aid, drawing upon his personal experiences as Black man while touching on racial stereotypes, prejudices, and identities in the United States.
Hammons bounced the basketballs against dirt and dribbled them on paper to create swirling forms that recall Abstract Expressionist compositions. Alongside each work on paper there is a found object, such as his Traveling 2002 piece, that is concealed inside a suitcase that references the game’s violation of the same name.
Continuing the theme of abstract and subvert presentation, the Kool-aid works were made using the popular flavored drink mix and feature Japanese writing done by the artist’s wife. Several of these are paired with veils that can be peeled back by visitors to see more of their details.
The gallery expressed in a statement, “Through unconventional artistic methods and media, both series evoke powerful political associations while demonstrating the artist’s ingenuity. The brilliance of these “sculptural” drawings, offering cultural symbolism and contemplative connotations, resides in their subtlety and elusiveness that ultimately provokes curious and reflective inquiry about the practices and beliefs shaping our identities.”
View David Hammons’ Basketball & Kool-Aid at Nahmad Contemporary through June 25.