Latitudes has been collaborating with Dart
, the documentary film festival that focuses exclusively on contemporary art, since its inception in 2017. Its sixth edition
has just taken place in Barcelona at Sala Phenomena, Cinemes Girona, and MACBA (24-30 November). We once again formed a part of the prize jury — alongside film critic Quim Casas and journalist Ianko López — and the extraordinary film The Melt Goes On Forever: The Art & Times of David Hammons
was awarded the 2022 Critics’ Prize. Directed by Judd Tully and Harold Crooks, the documentary chronicles the career of artist David Hammons
from its beginnings in 1960s Los Angeles, via one of the most uncompromising and elusive pathways through the contemporary art world, to its present semi-mythical status.
While the title of the film refers to what is perhaps Hammons’ most infamous work, 1983’s Bliz-aard Ball Sale
, this month’s cover story features a still from the movie, itself a photo by curator Phillip Brookman, which shows Hammons’ no less provocative How Ya Like Me Now?
, a public art work which was originally located near Washington DC’s National Portrait Gallery in 1989. How Ya Like Me Now?
depicts civil rights activist and two-time presidential candidate Jesse Jackson as a blonde-haired blue-eyed white guy, the suggestion being that if Jackson were white, at the very least his portrait would be in the gallery. No depictions of Black Americans were on display at the time. The billboard was almost immediately vandalised
by a group of men who found it insulting to the Black community, although it was later repaired and configured
with a ring of sledgehammers around it, as if forming a guardrail.
Featuring artists including Lorna Simpson and Betye Saar, curators and critics such as Robert Storr and Franklin Sirmans, and unearthing some fascinating archival footage, The Melt…
reveals an artist whose work is rooted in a biting critique of American society and racial politics, while routinely subverting the commercial art world.