Art In America

David Hammons

at Mnuchin Gallery,
45 East 78th Street

An exhibition of David Hammons’s work spanning five decades most generously features his modified readymades. Perhaps it’s because Mnuchin Gallery makes such an effective foil for them. More than a white cube ever could, the Upper East Side townhouse, with its parquet floors and elaborate molding, exaggerates the poverty of the found objects—a hoodie, a street performer’s bongo set, a beat-up basketball hoop—while enhancing the transformative magic that Hammons casts on them with grim humor. In the Hood (1993), a ragged-edged severed hood of a sweatshirt shaped with wire and hung on wall as a specimen, looks like both an executioner’s hood and a ghostly death shroud. The bongos of Standing Room Only (1996) are tucked forlornly in a corner, with a stuffed cat corpse curled up on top, an ambiguous signal of homey coziness and curbside roadkill. The hoop of Basketball Chandelier (1997) is strung with crystals, while the backboard is dotted with electric candles and decorated with crimped metal ornaments that look sharp and rough enough to cut a dunker’s hand, or even the ball. These sculptures and others from the last twenty years are quite different from Hammons’s body prints (the earliest works in the show), which he made by smearing his body in oils and pressing it against canvas. Yet those prints seem to map the work that the later sculptures do on viewers: they play on a surface to make an impression that somehow gets under the skin. —Brian Droitcour

 

Pictured: View of David Hammons: Five Decades, 2016, showing (from left) Standing Room Only, 1996, and Basketball Chandelier, 1997. Courtesy Mnuchin Gallery, New York.

More from the Lookout

Jim Drain

at Nathalie Karg,
through Jun. 11
291 Grand Street

Kevin Beasley

at Casey Kaplan,
through Jun. 17
121 West 27th Street

Daniel Buren

at Bortolami,
through Jun. 24
39 Walker Street

Florine Stettheimer

at the Jewish Museum,
through Sept. 24
1109 5th Avenue

Cindy Ji Hye Kim

at Helena Anrather,
through Jun. 23
28 Elizabeth Street

Mariah Robertson

at 11R,
through Jun. 9
195 Chrystie Street

Closing

“A Surrealist Banquet”

at Di Donna,
through Jun. 2
744 Madison Avenue

Elias Sime

at James Cohan,
through Jun. 17
533 West 26th Street

Naoki Sutter-Shudo

at Bodega,
through Jun. 11
167 Rivington Street

“Body, Self, Society: Chinese Performance Photography of the 1990s”

at the Walther Collection Project Space,
through Aug. 19
526 West 26th Street, Suite 718

Roni Horn

at Hauser & Wirth,
through Jul. 29
548 West 22nd Street

Rachel Harrison

at Greene Naftali,
through Jun. 17
508 West 26th Street

Susan Hiller

at Lisson Gallery,
through Jun. 10
504 West 24th Street

Lygia Clark

at Luhring Augustine,
through Jun. 17
531 West 24th Street

Nancy Spero

at Galerie Lelong,
through Jun. 17
528 West 26th Street

Walead Beshty

at Petzel Gallery,
through Jun. 27
456 West 18th Street

Henri Cartier-Bresson

at the Rubin Museum of Art,
through Sept. 4
150 West 17th Street

Closing

“Formal Complaint”

at the Knockdown Center,
through Jun. 4
52-19 Flushing Ave., Queens

Lygia Pape

at the Met Breuer,
through Jul. 23
945 Madison Avenue

Georgia O’Keeffe

at Brooklyn Museum,
through Jul. 23
200 Eastern Parkway

“Self-Interned, 1942: Noguchi in Poston War Relocation Center”

at the Isamu Noguchi Museum,
through Jan. 7
9-01 33rd Road, Long Island City

Giorgio de Chirico and Giulio Paolini

at The Center for Italian Modern Art,
through Jun. 24
421 Broome Street

Submit your e-mail to receive insider information from the art world every week.