David Hammons “How Ya Like Me Now?” / sledgehammers 
 (In 1989, Hammon’s altered portrait of politician Jesse Jackson was installed on the corner of Seventh and G in Washington DC, in conjunction with the Washington Project for the Arts’ outdoor exhibition “The Blues Aesthetic: Black Culture and Modernism.” 
 Shortly after handlers completed the installation process,  a group of ten black men - who regarded the work as demeaning and racist - used sledgehammers to attack it and knock it down from its scaffolding. (Hammons, himself a black man, said the men had misinterpreted the work, pointing out that it was intended as a denouncement of racism.) 
 When the demolished work was re-installed (in its damaged state) in the indoor gallery space of the WPA, Jackson himself gave a speech about the work and its assault. Saying he “got a kick” from the work, Jackson said, “Sometimes art provokes; sometimes it angers. That is a measure of its success. Sometimes it inspires creativity. Maybe the sledgehammers should have been on display too.”)

David Hammons “How Ya Like Me Now?” / sledgehammers

(In 1989, Hammon’s altered portrait of politician Jesse Jackson was installed on the corner of Seventh and G in Washington DC, in conjunction with the Washington Project for the Arts’ outdoor exhibition “The Blues Aesthetic: Black Culture and Modernism.”

Shortly after handlers completed the installation process,  a group of ten black men - who regarded the work as demeaning and racist - used sledgehammers to attack it and knock it down from its scaffolding. (Hammons, himself a black man, said the men had misinterpreted the work, pointing out that it was intended as a denouncement of racism.)

When the demolished work was re-installed (in its damaged state) in the indoor gallery space of the WPA, Jackson himself gave a speech about the work and its assault. Saying he “got a kick” from the work, Jackson said, “Sometimes art provokes; sometimes it angers. That is a measure of its success. Sometimes it inspires creativity. Maybe the sledgehammers should have been on display too.”)

Christopher Schreck