The Bourse de Commerce — Pinault Collection continues its programme of invitations to art historians and intellectuals in connection with the artists whose works are presented in its exhibitions. Art historian and curator Elena Filipovic shares a decade of research on the American artist David Hammons, on view in Gallery 2 of the museum until March 14. She presents her quest to document the Bliz-aard Ball Sale, the artist’s most iconic and elusive performance. In February 1983 in Cooper Square in New York’s East Village, anonymous among the other street vendors, David Hammons offered snowballs for sale.
The talk will be followed by a signing of Bliz-aard Ball Sale by Elena Filipovic, the first essay dedicated to David Hammons in French and co-published by Pinault Collection and Dilecta.
Elena Filipovic is director and curator of Kunsthalle Basel. She is cura-tor of the Croatian Pavilion of the Venice Biennale of Art in 2022 and previously served as senior curator of WIELS, Brussels and was co-curator, with Adam Szymczyk, of When things cast no shadow, the 5th Berlin Biennale of Contemporary Art in 2008. Her writings have appeared in numerous artists’ catalogues and journals and she has edited several compendiums, including The Artist as Curator: An Anthology (Mousse Publications, 2017) and The Biennial Reader: Anthology on Large-Scale Perennial Exhibitions of Contemporary Art, with Marieke van Hal and Solveig Øvstebø (Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2010). She is the author of David Hammons, Bliz-aard Ball Sale (Afterall Books, 2017), and The Apparently Marginal Activities of Marcel Duchamp (MIT Press, 2016).
Born in 1943 in Illinois, since the 1970s David Hammons has woven a stealthy and subversive body of work, through performances, ephemeral devices, and the recovery of discarded objects. Spurred on by the wound of ordinary racism and the status of African Americans in American society, and influenced by Arte Povera during his stay in Rome in 1989, Hammons, a genius of precarious assembly and the infinitesimal, recycles recovered objects, drawing on everyday life and the street, but also summoning up skilful references to art history. A steel post, a rusty windscreen, and a metal circle sculpt a basketball hoop (Untitled, 1989); a cassette player on a damaged bicycle that has become a coat rack (Central Park West, 1990) takes on the force of a sculpted group; two common opalescent tarpaulins, heated, perforated, and melted (Untitled, 2021) compose an abstract canvas of unprecedented visual and poetic intensity. Many of these works denounce the status of black people and the place assigned to them by society.