Phat Free, a video by David Hammons, depicts a man kicking a can down a New York City street. Hammons' work piques anticipation and curiosity by presenting a seemingly inconsequential action: a man walks and kicks. Derived from the context of Hammons urban surroundings and observations, the minimal activity creates a compelling gesture. By insisting that his work represent the mundane occurrences of everyday life, he implicates the audience in the act of interpreting and deriving meaning from their own quotidian experience.
Linda Norden, of Harvard University's Fogg Art Museum, has said that Hammons' "works are so slow and uninflected that they force you to look for things .. . [This film] leads you to the visual acuity that artists tend to cultivate."
According to Hammons, "the less I do the more of an artist I am." The minimal gestures of his work–he is famous for selling snowballs on the streets of New York City–obliquely address issues of race and urban experience. He recently received wide attention for his piece Concerto in Black and Blue, shown at New York's Ace Gallery. There, gallery visitors explored the emptied, pitch-black gallery space using only tiny blue flashlights to navigate the cavernous space. In addition to installations and staged events (Hammons once organized a 3-on-3 basketball game at P.S.1), the artist's oeuvre has included sculptural works ranging from stones fitted with human hair to baroque basketball hoops.
A widely influential artist, David Hammons has had numerous solo exhibitions and has participated in major group shows. Recent solo exhibitions included Ace Gallery, New York (2002); White Cube, London, England (2002); Museo Reina Maria Sofia, Madrid, Spain (2000); Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland (1998); Gallery Shimada, Yamaguchi, Japan (1998); Yardbird Suite, Williams College Art Center, Williamstown, MA and San Francisco Museum of Modem Art (1993); American Academy of Rome, Italy (1992); Rousing the Rubble, P.S.1, Long Island City, New York; traveled to Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia and San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art.
Hammons' participation in recent group exhibitions includes Artist's Choice, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2003); Work Ethic, The Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD (2003); One Planet Under a Groove, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York (2001); Material and Matter, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2000); and Parkett Editions, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2000). David Hammons is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and the Prix de Rome.
The Fabric Workshop and Museum presents David Hammons in conjunction with The Big Nothing, a citywide exhibition organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania.