Old shopping bags, grease stains and drifts of kinky black hair are assembled into this 1970s work by David Hammons, titled “Bag Lady in Flight” and on view in the show called “Now Dig This!” at PS1 in New York. Assemblage was a crucial form for many of the artists in the show, which looks at African American creation in Los Angeles between 1960 and 1980. Hammons gets the genre more right than almost anyone else, black or white. He achieves a perfect balance between the original energies of his found objects and the considered artifice of artistic composition. (“Bag Lady” echoes the protractors of Stella and Duchamp’s descending “Nude”, but also the stagings of Kienholz.) Hammons transforms his materials while preserving the meanings they had on the street.
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