May 18, 2017
Critics, when writing about the work of David Hammons, like to show they've done their homework. They tell us, for example, that the title of the artist's exhibition at Kunsthalle Bern, The Blues and the Abstract Truth (1997) derives from a 1961 album by jazz saxophonist Oliver Nelson.

But how many actually listened to that record? None go on to tell us what that album sounds like, and how that relates to the way Hammons uses light, space, time, and improvisation in his exhibition.

Or they say: "A boombox plays John Coltrane."

But which Coltrane? The melancholy sound of Blue Train or the complex free jazz of Ascension? And which tracks, in what order? To not bother specifying this is like not bothering to mention if a painting is square or round.

In 2009, Prof. Barry Maxwell wrote a brilliant essay about this problem (find it here). He demands all those who write about Hammons to do a much better job (and that includes you, Robert Storr).

We want to help.

We have done the digging and found the exact playlists used by Hammons in many of his installations. They form the playlist of an evening of drinks at the Wattis Bar.

Come by, have a drink, and listen in.

This is the twelfth event in our year-long season about and around the work of David Hammons.

Bar Night: 6–11 pm

Playlist: tracks and albums used by David Hammons in many of his installations.

Slideshow: works by David Hammons