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By: Jay Sanders

DAVID HAMMONS (L&M Arts, New York) 

In a year when countless takes on painting began to feel like little more than a collective egg-drop contest, Hammons's two town-house floors of large painting-tarp concoctions left many momentarily stunned. With no press release and thus no rhetoric, a roaring silence ensued, What were these paintings up to? The rough-hewn appearance of the abstract canvases and their cat-/rat-gnawed plastic coverings gave way, on close examination, to revelations about the ways in which each piece uniquely resolved its hybrid nature. By the time you got upstairs, the works became downright majestic. That said, their "look" brought the gallery's context into strange play, actively disrupting the style boundary between the Lower East Side and the Upper East Side. But this, along with the sneaking possibility that these works might actually be "mean-spirited," was all part of the fun. 

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