David Hammons. Untitled (Night Train). 1988. Glass bottles, caps, silicone glue, and coal, dimensions variable, approximately 30 x 42 x 42" (76.2 x 106.7 x 106.7 cm). Gift of the Hudgins Family in memory of Lawrence D. "Butch" Morris. Photo: John Wronn
  • MoMA, Floor 2, 207 The David Geffen Wing

The sculptures in this gallery, often referred to as “assemblages,” are constructed from a range of found items. The process of combining like and unlike things challenges conventional notions of sculpture by incorporating materials taken from the everyday world. Presented in new combinations and settings, these materials both invoke and question the contexts from which they emerge.

For Jimmie Durham, David Hammons, and Cady Noland, making an assemblage—which involves selecting preexisting things rather than creating entirely anew—is a political gesture. By reframing and even subverting cultural icons and stereotypes, all three artists, in very different ways, recast emblems of American culture in order to call attention to the country’s baneful history of violence against its own subjects. Although the works on display were made in the late 1980s and early 1990s—a period of dissent against decades of conservative government in the United States—the concerns they raise remain urgent.

Artists

Installation images

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].

Licensing

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].

Feedback

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].