David Hammons was born in Springfield, Illinois in 1943. He moved to Los Angeles in 1962 attending Chouinard Art Institute (now CalArts) from 1966 – 1968 and the Otis Art Institute from 1968 – 1972. In 1974 Hammons settled in New York City.
An African-American installation artist, performance artist, and sculptor, Hammons is primarily known for his work in and around New York City during the 1970's and 80's. Influenced by Arte Povera, Hammons's work speaks of cultural overtones; employing provocative materials such as elephant dung, chicken parts, strands of hair, and bottles of cheap wine. Centered in the black urban experience, Hammons often uses sarcasm as a means of confronting cultural stereotypes and racial issues. Hammons was the recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship in July 1991.
Hammons's work is collected by major public and private institutions internationally, among them: Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge; Glenstone, Potomac; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; SMAK, Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Gent; Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris; Francois Pinault Foundation, Venice; and Tate Britain, London.
David Hammons currently lives and works in New York.