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David Hammons (2022)


Text by Ben Okri
Edited by Honey Luard
Designed by (Studio) Jonathan Hares
Printed by DOD, Odermatt, Switzerland
300 × 225 mm, hardback
176 pages, 64 illustrations
ISBN 978-1-910844-19-9
Published by White Cube, May 2022

This monograph on David Hammons provides critical insight into the elusive mind of an artist who has consistently wrong footed the art establishment.

An extended essay by acclaimed poet, novelist and playwright, Ben Okri, explores Hammons’s critical approach to the cult of artistic personality, contrasting the artist’s cool indifference to his own self-image with classical and art historical biographies of great painters, from Pliny the Elder to Giorgio Vasari. Leading with a series of stills from Phat Free (1995/1999), Hammons’s only known video work, the publication documents the artist’s output from his body prints to his explicit strategies of opacity and disguise. It also invites a point of comparison between Agnes Martin’s Untitled #9, 1999, a late work in white and pale primary colours that was included in Hammons’s 2014 exhibition at White Cube Mason’s Yard. Designed by (Studio) Jonathan Hares, the monograph spaces out its images at a rhythm in keeping with Hammons’s judicious artistic output.

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Ben Okri OBE FRSL is a poet, novelist, playwright and essayist. His work has won numerous national and international awards, including the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1991, for his novel The Famished Road. His novel Astonishing the Gods was selected as one of the BBC’s ‘100 Novels That Shaped Our World’. His most recent books are The Freedom Artist, A Fire in my Head, Prayer for the Living, and the environmental fable Every Leaf a Hallelujah.

David Hammons

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