Orange is the New Black


Glass, wood, nails and acrylic

65 × 39 × 35 cm (25 9/16 × 15 3/8 × 13 3/4 in.)

A pastiche of nkisi (nkondi in the singular), idols or fetishes created by the Kongo people of Central Africa, traditionally used to protect villages, ward off evil spirits and, in particular, to stave off European incursions on the coasts, this work represents a two-headed canine figure, studded with nails. Could this two-headed dog be a visionary, sensing dangers and negative forces both in the real world and beyond? Africa and the West, history and fiction?

Covered in a layer of orange pigment by the artist, this sculpture-fetish is entitled Orange is the New Black in reference to the American television series of the same name, which tells the story of the daily life of a white-collar prisoner in a women's prison. David Hammons thus makes a critical reference to the American criminal justice system, drawing with commitment and irony on associations, both scholarly and popular cultural references, and the power of wordplay.

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