David Hammons: Rented Earth
July 11 – September 18 1980
In his window installation, Rented Earth, artist David Hammons dealt with the diametrically opposed relationship between spirituality and technology. Hammons juxtaposed an African tribal mask with a modern day invention—a child’s toy television set, which emitted only a non-specific light source.
Ritual African staffs leaned against a mud-covered wooden ladder and brightly colored platform shoes, partially covered by dirt, combined to recreate an archeological dig. In their natural mud hut setting, these objects, complete with reeds, pebbles and a net-covered doorway, reflected the artist’s concern with Afro-American culture.
Hammons accentuated the disparity between old and new by piercing the class windowpanes with painted sticks, and by taping an “X" on each pane of glass. In this environment, the spectator was presented with an image replete with historical contradictions.