Skip to Content

Special ProjectsPhat Free , 1995/99

Phat Free, 1995/99

David Hammons - New York, USA

Phat Free begins with several minutes of darkness overlaid with an unidentified, metallic and percussive sound. As the video image is revealed, a man, David Hammons himself, appears dressed in a long coat, hat and sneakers, kicking a metal bucket down a New York City street at night. The simple gesture and mundane activity of everyday life presented in this work lends itself to multiple interpretations by the viewer.

Drawing inspiration from street life, the artist has assembled found objects including chicken bones, bottle caps, paper bags and human hair (collected from African-American barbershops), into his sculpture and installations. Evolving from the context of his urban surroundings and observations, he addresses issues of race, African-American culture and social stereotypes.

For this event, the video installation will be presented alongside Bruce Nauman's Slow Angle Walk (Beckett Walk). The repetitive action seen in Hammons' project evokes the early performance videos of Nauman, where movement conveys a message of social isolation and identity. 

In both projects the artists appear as the protagonist, using their own body as an expressive instrument in motion and gesture to comment on the human condition.

Born in Illinois, David Hammons studied at the LA Trade Technical College, Chouinard and Otis Art Institutes. Working in New York, Hammons grew interested in Marcel Duchamp, the Dada movement and Arte Povera. His work often explores African American racial, cultural issues and stereotypes, inserting cunning wordplay, sarcasm and puns.

Video Installation


OBLIVION Militant Nostalgia And the Transformation Reveals Facing the Sky Independent Projects Major Institutions Event Centre Invictus 360°

Union Station, West Wing

65 Front Street West

Suitable for all ages

This project is indoors.