David Hammons Pray for America 1969

  • Not on view

This is one from an extended series of "body prints" Hammons made by pressing his skin and clothing, smeared with grease or margarine, against a board or a sheet of paper and then sprinkling the surface with graphite or pigment. A haunting image of the artist draped in the American flag, his hands joined in prayer, it was created just a year after the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy and during a time of nationwide protests, race riots, and demonstrations against the Vietnam War. It speaks broadly to what Hammons described as his "moral obligation as a black artist to try to graphically document what I feel socially."

Gallery label from From the Collection: 1960-69, March 26, 2016 - March 12, 2017.
Screenprint and pigment on paper
60 1/2 × 30" (153.7 × 76.2 cm)
Gift to The Museum of Modern Art and The Studio Museum in Harlem by the Hudgins Family in honor of David Rockefeller on his 100th birthday
Object number
© 2023 David Hammons
Drawings and Prints

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