David Hammons, Pissed Off

Photo: Scott Leen

David Hammons, Pissed Off

negative 1981, printed 2019

Dawoud Bey

American, born 1953

Bey’s series of photographs record two significant actions made by artist David Hammons in response to the installation of Richard Serra’s monumental public sculpture in Tribeca, New York. In the first, Hammons is seen urinating on the sculpture, an irreverent and confrontational gesture responding to the social and art world politics of Serra’s sculpture being sited in this location—the entrance of the subway to Harlem. Bey documents the action itself, as well as Hammons subsequently in conversation with a police officer, providing his identification. In a second visit to the sculpture, Hammons threw 25 pairs of shoes over its edge, calling up the Black urban vernacular of sneakers dangling from power lines.

Four archival pigment prints
44 x 30 1/2 in. (111.8 x 77.5 cm)
23 1/2 x 33 in. (59.7 x 83.8 cm)
23 x 33 in. (58.4 x 83.8 cm)
23 x 33 in. (58.4 x 83.8 cm)
General Acquisition Fund and Modern Art Acquisition Fund; by exchange, Robert B. and Honey Dootson Collection; David Hoberman; Seattle Artfair and the Estate of Mary Arrington Small
Provenance: The artist; [Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, California]; purchased from gallery by Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington, 2019
Photo: Scott Leen
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Reverberations: Contemporary Art and Modern Classics, Dec. 22, 2022 - ongoing [on view Dec. 22, 2022 - June 11, 2023].
Published ReferencesLakin, Max. “A Meeting Of Two Creative Minds.” The New York Times, May 2, 2019: p. 13, reproduced. [A version of this article appears online on May 1, 2019 with the headline: “When Dawoud Bey Met David Hammons,” https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/01/arts/design/dawoud-bey-david-hammons-jam-frieze.html.]

Naeem, Asma. The Culture: Hip Hop & Contemporary Art in the 21st Century. Baltimore: Baltimore Museum of Art and Saint Louis Art Museum, in association with Gregory Miller & Co., 2023: pp.25-26, reproduced pp. 25.

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