Hyperallergic

Last Chance: David Hammons
May 24, 2016

By Jillian Steinhauer

 

If you see one show this week before it closes, make it David Hammons’s five-decade retrospective at Mnuchin Gallery. You won’t find a clearly chronological setup or any didactic texts here; instead, you’ll find a highly conceptual, alternately cryptic and coy installation that’s charged with energy. Hammons makes work that takes work to understand, and his refusal to help the viewer along in that process — beyond his often hilarious titles — is stubbornly refreshing. He literally makes you think. In an age of identity politics and celebrity, Hammons has chosen, very consciously, to give us his and just his art. Or, as John Yau wrote in his review of the exhibition:

 

Hammons isn’t interested in turning himself into a commodity, a series of sound bytes about himself or his art. It is one thing to be a shape-shifting trickster and another to be a well-dressed clown.