Press | Phillips

20 April 2017

Phillips to Offer David Hammons’ African American Flag in May Evening Sale



NEW YORK – 20 APRIL 2017 – Phillips is pleased to announce that David Hammons’ African-American Flag will be offered in the Evening Sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art on Thursday, 18 May. Executed in 1990 in an edition of only five, this particular example has never been offered publicly and is estimated at $700,000-1,000,000. In 1990, it flew over Museum Overholland on the Museum Square in Amsterdam for the duration of the exhibition Black USA, and another original from the same edition has been in the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art for ten years.

Jean-Paul Engelen, Worldwide Co-Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, said, “David Hammons is among the most important and fascinating artists of our time, defined by his political stance and refusal to confine himself to a particular aesthetic or medium. There is, however, a unifying thread in his oeuvre, with his works consistently being insightful, poignant, visually striking and politically engaged. His fickle relationship with the art world establishment and the inherent political commentary in his work reflect the complications of the time we live in, resulting in his unique way of visualizing the different truths we each experience. We are thrilled to offer his African-American Flag in our May Evening Sale, a captivating example from his remarkable career.”

In his work, Hammons frequently imbues potent symbols with a new meaning. From his basketball hoop sculptures Higher Goals, 1986, which commented on the limited opportunities available to young African Americans, to the arresting painting How ya like me Now, 1988, which depicts a young Reverend Jesse Jackson with white skin and blonde hair, Hammons has not shied away from topics which directly impacted his own life and which continue to be the everyday reality for a large portion of the American population. African-American Flag follows in this tradition – the red, white, and blue of the United States flag replaced with the red, black, and green of Marcus Garvey’s Pan-African Flag, which was first adopted by the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League in 1920.

Instead of working directly with the Pan-African Flag, Hammons use of its colors within the context of the traditional American flag is a reminder of the many contributions made by African Americans throughout the history of the country. Hammons combines the two objects to create a new flag of the United States, his work assuming a new, distinctly black power, which stands for those people the traditional flag has not always represented.

Auction: Thursday, 18 May 2017, 5pm
Auction viewing: 5-18 May | Monday to Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 12pm-6pm
Location: 450 Park Avenue, New York
Link to more information:  

Phillips is a leading global platform for buying and selling 20th and 21st century art and design. With dedicated expertise in the areas of Art, Design, Photographs, Editions, Watches, and Jewelry, Phillips offers professional services and advice on all aspects of collecting. Auctions and exhibitions are held at salerooms in New York, London, Geneva, and Hong Kong, while clients are further served through representative offices based throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. Phillips also offers an online auction platform accessible anywhere in the world.

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*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium; prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer’s premium.

Michael Sherman, Chief Communications Officer  +1 212 940 1384
Jaime Israni, Public Relations Specialist            +1 212 940 1398

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