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Rock Head



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Download Montford speaks about Rock Head, a sculpture with human hair. (1.5 MB)


One of contemporary art’s most compelling and elusive figures, David Hammons draws upon his identity as an African American for his sculptures, performances, and installations. He was also inspired by the 1960s Italian Arte Povera (Poor Art) movement with its use of everyday materials to create metaphorical imagery. Rock Head embodies a strikingly elegant human form with remarkable simplicity, roughness, and asymmetry. Reminiscent of both archeological remains and Brancusi’s Modernist ovoid heads, the smooth boulder is thatched with hair swept up from the floor of a Harlem barbershop. Hammons began using human hair from barbershops in the 1970s for installations in Harlem lots. In these sculptures it was important to Hammons that the African American viewer found a reflection of him- or herself in the artwork 2000

Publication Date



RISD Museum


Providence, Rhode Island


Rhode Island School of Design Museum; African American; identity; human hair



Rock Head

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Sculpture Commons



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