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David Hammons, Flight Fantasy (1978)


Walker Art Center



Institution Walker Art Center
Old dirty bags, grease, bones, hair . . . it's about us, it's about me. It isn't negative. We should look at these images and see how positive they are, how strong, how powerful. Our hair is positive, it's powerful, look what it can do. There's nothing negative about our images, it all depends on who is seeing it and we've been depending on someone else's sight. . . . We need to look again and decide. --David Hammons, 1977

Since the late 1960s, David Hammons has been instrumental in the ongoing investigation of African-American popular culture, which has become the primary source for his work. In his sculptures he often uses refuse found in the urban environment in which he lives, such as chicken bones, paper bags, hair, bottle caps, and liquor bottles. Vacillating between cultural paradigms, Hammons' work resonates with the human need for subsistence.

An important addition to the Walker's collection of postwar assemblage art, Flight Fantasy is made of found objects such as feathers, bamboo, and shards of 45 rpm records with which the artist conveys a sense of flight and illusion. This piece is also significant for its incorporation of human hair. It is part of a genre of works that marks Hammons' five-year investigation of African-American hair as a versatile fiber for art-making and serves as a subtle reminder of the place of the black body as a commodity in the making of the United States.

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Type: Commentary, object label
Source: Label text for David Hammons, Flight Fantasy (1978), from the exhibition Art in Our Time: 1950 to the Present, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, September 5, 1999 to September 2, 2001.
Rights: Copyright 1999 Walker Art Center
Added to Site: March 1, 2009