Body Print
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ebrowne's picture


David Hammons is one of the art world’s most elusive members and is shy about everything, except for his penis.

Will he have a solo gallery show? No. Will he sit for an interview? No. Will he publish an artist’s statement? No. Will he cover his clothes/penis in butter, rub it on a canvas, and sprinkle it with ground pigment? Oh yeah! In Hammons’ case, it’s not about shyness actually. Hammons just hates the art world and all of the publicity that surrounds it and as a result has rejected the entire thing. But the art world is a fickle lover - as soon as it can’t have something, that’s when it wants it the most. So David Hammons has unintentionally become famous by playing hard to get, making him the bane of every aspiring artists’ existence.

This piece is more than just a SMD to the art world though. It’s a comment on stereotyping and contradicting aspects of one’s identity. “In the first [aspect], identity is specific to each individual, while in the second, it is imposed from without by social forces, such as stereotyping.” So basically this print is the 2-D stereotype of David Hammons, black male artist, not an actual self portrait of the real 3-D David Hammons with all of his individual characteristics and neuroses.

Hammons’ ham-in-hand work is one of very few to make it into a museum. He usually just gives them out as presents like, “Here is a print of my penis that I have made for you. You’re welcome.” It’s hard to tell whether this would be the best or worst present in the world, but there is definitely no in between. Despite his questionable gifting skills, Hammons is still a coveted artist amongst museums worldwide and MOCA is a lucky duck for snagging one of these prints. As viewers we are still left wondering how in the world we can make our own no-no squares world famous without entering the porn industry. If you have any ideas, please comment below.



  1. "Body Print". The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Web. 20 June 2017.
  2. Russeth, Andrew. "David Hammons And The Politics Of Visibility | Artnews". N.p., 2015. Web. 20 June 2017.
  3. Schjeldahl, Peter. "The Walker". The New Yorker. N.p., 2002. Web. 20 June 2017.
  4. Cotter, Holland. "L.A. Object And David Hammons Body Prints - Art - Review". N.p., 2006. Web. 20 June 2017.

Comments (1)


‘If you have any ideas, please comment below’. Unfortunately I have no ideas myself, but whenever I am stumped by an art making related question, I turn to Hennessy Youngman, aka Jayson Musson, aka my hero. Here he is explaining how to make an art: