David Hammons

Elusively influential artist gaming the artworld

However clearly David Hammons states his disdain for the artworld (‘the worst audience in the world’), the feeling is not reciprocated. He is confirmed among the world’s most expensive artists – the relative scarcity of his work means that major pieces rarely come up for auction, but the expectation is that if one did, it would break records – and these days the reclusive trickster is perilously close to joining the ranks of elder statesmen. The New York State Senate this year passed legislation permitting construction of a monumental public artwork by Hammons that would jut into the Hudson River opposite the Whitney; on the basis of a conversation with Hammons, Mnuchin Gallery initiated the first major exhibition of Ed Clark in New York since 1980 (Hammons owns one of the largest collections of the veteran abstract painter). Hammons has for decades sought to reshape the ways that art is made, sold and written into history; the question is whether he is now willing to work from the inside.