Basketball Drawing


Charcoal on paper

299.5 × 288.2 cm (117 15/16 × 113 7/16 in.)

At first glance, the surface of this immense drawing, composed of two sheets in adjoining frames, seems to be crudely soiled, or sketched. Moving closer, the general movement is revealed and it becomes clear that it is made of touches, of successive traces. This haze is made up of hundreds of graphite impacts. The title of the work then reveals its process: Basketball Drawing.

This work on paper is also reminiscent of the use of the print, already at work in the Body Prints—impressions of the body directly on the pictorial surface. The drawing is made through the traces left by a basketball, impregnated with pigment, which is dribbled on the paper. David Hammons plays with the saturated, dark zones and with the knockout of the paper, with its ethereal zones, as if he were handling the matter of chance with the precision of a finely sharpened pencil.

Hammons has lived and worked in New York City since 1974, and his experiences there have influenced his work. In his work, he invokes urban sports, most often boxing and basketball, which are often associated with African-Americans. David Hammons always operates in a logic of displacement: he breathes the energy of the street into his works, stirring up Harlem's dust or the hair collected in its barbershops, into spaces dedicated to art. Radical, provocative, hard-hitting, his work draws its strength from art's critical mission to question hierarchies and modes of thought.

This work is presented for the first time in 2021 by the Pinault Collection in the inaugural exhibition of the Bourse de Commerce, entitled "Ouverture".