Hidden Drawing (Jordan begins 8th season as No. 1)

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  • In Short

     “As a former high school basketball player, Hammons brings his own love and devotion to the theme of sport, regardless of the prime social, cultural, and economic metaphors that play out in his works on that theme…basketball remains a favored target, foil, and object of devotion”
    – Franklin Sirmans
     
    Sports page from the Amsterdam News, New York, November 2, 1991, used as source material for present lot.
  • Hammons's Revenge

    Over his career, David Hammons has turned the tenets of contemporary art against themselves. From declining interviews to refusing to partake in the traditional gallery model of artist representation to declining museum exhibition requests, he has questioned nearly every facet of the art world, re-envisioning the functionless ready-mades of Marcel Duchamp within the context of current race realities. Hammons’s objects, such as Hidden Drawing (Jordan begins 8th season as No. 1), carry an emotive charge transcending Dadaism as poignant metaphors for the Black experience in America.

    Headline from the front page of the Amsterdam News, New York, November 2, 1991, used as source material for present lot.
     

     In the present work, a page from the New York Amsterdam News—one of the oldest African American newspapers, which published W. E. B. Du Bois, Malcolm X, and Roy Wilkins—is rolled up and held by a coat hanger. Though most of the page is not visible, just as the canvases of his tarp paintings are concealed, two headlines can be read: on the recto, “[Michael] Jordan begins 8th season as No. 1,” and on the verso, “What’s behind David Duke’s rise?” Invoking the Pan-African colors with a layer of red and green paint and black rubber bands, Hidden Drawing (Jordan begins 8th season as No. 1) is Hammons’s confrontation of both overt and covert forms of white supremacy—the former in this case is the David Duke-led Ku Klux Klan, the latter, basketball.


    “By making art from detritus and found materials, Hammons attempts to put himself on the same plane as the historically marginal and opens himself up to their canons of beauty and perseverance that sometimes translates as transformational magic” – Kellie Jones

     
     Basketball has figured as a core motif in Hammons’s oeuvre since 1983, when his work Higher Goals—a net atop a 55-foot pole adorned with bottle caps—was installed in Harlem. “It was the first of many basketball-themed art works by Hammons,” according to Calvin Tomkins, “whose own hoop dreams died when he stopped growing at five feet eight.”[i] Though the sport was an outlet for the artist during his adolescence, his perspective on basketball has since evolved both ambiguously and dramatically. 

    “I’m enraged by basketball,” the typically taciturn artist told Sports Illustrated in 1990 when asked about why so much of his work is centered around the sport, “[so] this is my revenge.” He elucidated that “it’s an anti-basketball sculpture. Basketball has become a problem in the black community because kids aren’t getting an education. They’re pawns in someone else’s game. That’s why it’s called Higher Goals. It means you should have higher goals in life than basketball.”[ii]


     
     



















     
     
     David Hammons, Higher Goals, 1983. Artwork © 2020 David Hammons
     


    As his preoccupation with basketball grew, Hammons began to occasionally reference star player Michael Jordan. One work, Which Mike Do You Want to Be Like…?, 2001, features three microphones on stands, challenging the myth that young black children need to be prodigious athletes (such as Michael Jordan and Mike Tyson) or performers (as Michael Jackson) in order to be afforded any mass-media representation. In Hidden Drawing (Jordan begins 8th season as No. 1), an article on Jordan is held by a coat hanger, which functions as a scale of justice and alludes to the commodification of black bodies Hammons asserts is at the center of basketball—in his opinion, a white man’s game. Perhaps the artist asserts in the present work that although a seemingly-harmless celebratory article on basketball might appear to us at first glance, the darkness and blatant racism of David Duke lurks behind.

     
    Marcel Duchamp, Bottle Rack (Porte-Bouteilles), 1958-1959. The Art Institute of Chicago, Photo credit: The Art Institute of Chicago / Art Resource, NY, Artwork © 2020 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris / Estate of Marcel Duchamp

     

    “As an artist, David Hammons expands our definition of the term with his varied and evolving practice. He is a ‘hip junk dealer’, sculptor, performer, conceptual artist, environmental sculptor, magician, philosopher, social commentator…who positions himself somewhere between Marcel Duchamp, outsider art and Arte Povera”
    – Kellie Jones 

      


    [i] Calvin Tomkins, “David Hammons Follows His Own Rules,” New Yorker, December 2, 2019, online.

    [ii] David Hammons, quoted in Merrell Noden, “A Very High Form of Art,” Sports Illustrated, vol. 73, no. 26, December 24, 1990. 

     

     

  • The Hoops of Hammons

    • Provenance

      Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner in 1991

    • Artist Bio

      David Hammons

      American • 1943

      David Hammons eschews the spotlight and rebels against the conventions of the art world. Hammons’s diverse body of work, spanning conceptual, performance, and installation art, is so laden with spell-binding metaphor that they have become symbols for movements both in the art world as well as in the public domain. 

      Hammons doesn't work in any consistent medium or using any formal or academic theory—he famously has said, "I can't stand art actually." Still, with his Duchamp-ian readymades re-envisioned for a contemporary political context, Hammons remains one of contemporary art's most watched artists. Untitleda basketball hoop with dangling candelabra, achieved $8 million at Phillips in 2013, the world auction record for the artist. 

      View More Works

Ο ◆20

Property from the Over Holland Collection

Hidden Drawing (Jordan begins 8th season as No. 1)

newspaper, paint, rubber bands, tape and coat hanger
4 1/2 x 23 x 1 1/2 in. (11.4 x 58.4 x 3.8 cm)
Executed in 1991.

This work refers to “Jordan begins 8th season as No. 1”, Amsterdam News, November 2, 1991.

Estimate
$150,000 - 200,000 

sold for $181,250

Contact Specialist

Amanda Lo Iacono
Head of Evening Sale
New York
+1 212 940 1278

20th Century and Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 2 July 2020