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David Hammons and El Anatsui

Updated: Jul 5, 2020

David Hammons, an installation artist, did not create Ordinary art; his work is unconventional but rare in the art world. One of his works that I had interest in “Untitled 2000” it is a basketball hoop series, there is only three of them produced. David created this with five crystal chandeliers surrounding the top of the hoop. This piece wasn’t just about the light source but also represented the class. Chandeliers consisted of fragile crystals which are usually found in luxurious places. David worked simultaneously with Jean Basquiat and had similar styles in their purpose in creating art by their views in racial politics. David’s work is revolved in the civil rights movement, and he currently resides in New York.

El Anatsui is from Ghana and is famous for his bottle cap sculptures series and the “ Delta, 2010” is my favorite one from the collection, and the reasoning behind the use of bottle tops has a deep meaning for him. He collects bottle caps from varies types of companies from Africa, America, and Europe. He gets them mostly from recycled bottles as they must discard the tops. He cut the caps and sorted them by color and created a sort of movement with these bottle caps that he bent and built something else entirely. His use of the color with the caps, he considers himself a painter due to knowing how to use color. El Anatsui made this bottle cap projects to create the illusion of history, the bottle caps from Europe symbolized the currency used to trade Slaves with bottles drinks like liquor and sugary drinks. However, the caps from the western world is used to signify the fact that Europeans traded slaves in the states. Then he uses bottle caps from Africa to be expressed the Africans that made it back to Africa, and that is the process of the recycled bottle cap art pieces he has.

El Anatsui didn’t mind having his artwork exhibited and viewed in galleries with the permission for curators to adjust his artwork. The reason why he allows that he believes that there’s an artist in everyone, and letting the curator decide with the space is something he enjoys seeing. As David Hammons rebelled with galleries and didn’t want anything in an exhibit. Both wanted to bring awareness to the public of their complicated background of racism. David was scandalous with a couple of pieces he comes out with, and there was an installation of putting urinals on trees that made the public upset. He also painted a billboard with a white Jesse Jackson, which got attacked with a sledgehammer by a few young African Americans. David used the basketball hoop decorated with crystals to show that a game that everyone plays from the ghetto all the way to famous NBA players, also it could be a way for them to get out of the ghetto and aim towards stardom. That at the end of the day the game can be played by anyone, but the crystals are dreams that not everyone can have unless they try hard. El Anatsui brought attentiveness to racism in the recycle project to bring awareness that slavery and currency and the way these bottle caps are heavily involved in drinking across those countries.


David Hammons." Lee Bontecou. Untitled. 1959 | MoMA. Accessed November 14, 2018.

“David Hammons - Untitled, 2000.” Phillips. Accessed July 5, 2020.

ClarkArtInstitute. "Interview with El Anatsui." YouTube. June 09, 2011. Accessed November 14, 2018.

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