David Hammons has been a central figure in American art since the late 1960s as a conceptual artist, environmental sculptor, and social commentator, creating works that exhume and investigate discarded artifacts from African-American vernacular culture. We had been looking for a piece by Hammons to add to the collection since I began working at the Walker in 1991, but had not been able to find the right one.
Flight Fantasy is part of a series of wall sculptures, completed by Hammons between 1978 and 1980, in which allusions to flying, the bird kingdom, and the celestial figure prominently. As this mobile hangs from the ceiling, the winglike arrangements of bamboo dowels, feathers, and shards of 45 rpm records wave softly with any movement of the air, visually conveying a sense of fluttering and sustained motion.
Flight Fantasy is also significant for its incorporation of human hair. It is part of a genre of works that marks the end of Hammons' five-year investigation of Black hair as a versatile fiber for art-making and serves as a subtle reminder of the place of the Black body as a commodity in the making of the United States.
Adjunct Curator, Visual Arts