David Hammons’s aversion to publicity is, by now, the stuff of legend, and information about his shows is often revealed only at the last moment, or even, in a few cases, not until they finally open. However, thanks to the machinations of New York City government, details are coming out at a steady clip about a public sculpture that Hammons has proposed to be built on the Hudson River alongside the Whitney Museum, which is facilitating the project.
At a meeting tonight of Manhattan Community Board 2, representatives from the Whitney revealed that Hammons wants to create a piece that would outline the industrial shed that once stood on Pier 52, in the exact place it was located. The work would share its title with a storied Gordon Matta-Clark project, Day’s End (1975), which the artist made by cutting holes in the structure over the course of two months to create what he termed a “sun and water temple.” (A video depicting that magic is available on Ubuweb.)
Matta-Clark famously ran into trouble for his unauthorized project with city authorities, who filed charges against the artist that were later dropped.
Here’s a bit of the museum’s news release on the Hammons piece:
Hammons’s poetic structure would become a “ghost monument” to the earlier work and also allude to the history of the New York waterfront—from the nineteenth- and twentieth-century pier sheds that stood along the Hudson River during the heyday of New York’s shipping industry to the reclaimed piers that became an important gathering place for the gay community.
The Hudson River Park Trust will need to sign off on the piece as part of the approval process, according to an initial report about the project in the New York Times, and though no possible construction date has been released, but Hammons fans have plenty of reason to rejoice right now: a show he’s organized at the Museum of Modern Art opens this Thursday.