David Hammons: Body Prints, 1968–1979
The first book dedicated to these pivotal early works on paper, David Hammons: Body Prints, 1968–1979 brings together the monoprints and collages in which the artist used the body as both a drawing tool and printing plate to explore performative, unconventional forms of image-making. Hammons created the body prints by greasing his own body—or that of another person—with substances including margarine and baby oil, pressing or rolling body parts against paper, and sprinkling the surface with charcoal and powdered pigment. The resulting impressions are intimately direct indexes of faces, skin and hair that exist somewhere between spectral portraits and physical traces. Hammons’ body prints represent the origin of his artistic language, one that has developed over a long and continuing career and that emphasizes both the artifacts and subjects of contemporary Black life in the United States.