The New York Times, February 5, 2006
"HAS THE TRICKSTER HERO STRUCK AGAIN?: AN UNAUTHORIZED SHOW SO SLYLY SUBVERSIVE IT MIGHT JUST BE AUTHORIZED."
By Mia Fineman
The not-for-profit Harlem gallery Triple Candie bills its show dedicated to the notoriously elusive artist David Hammons as an "unauthorized retrospective." After five years of trying to secure his cooperation or that of collectors and dealers, the gallery opted to include no actual works of art; instead the walls are decorated with photocopies and computer printouts of images of his work from catalogs, exhibition brochures, and Web sites.
Many artists -- to say nothing of copyright lawyers -- might take umbrage at the approach. But Mr. Hammons has a reputation as a trickster, not a stickler, and as a result the gallery is faced with a different reaction: some of the artist's admirers wonder if he is actually behind the show.
Peter Nesbett, who with his wife, Shelly Bancroft, runs Triple Candie, described the show as "primarily a very sincere homage,"but he allowed that a number of people had voiced suspicions: "There's so much mystery about who he is and where he is that he leaves the door open for things like this."
Put Douglas Christmas, director of the Ace Gallery in Lower Manhattan, in the skeptics' camp. Mr. Christmas, who spent five years trying to persuade Mr. Hammons to hold a show -- in his case, successfully -- said he would not be surprised "if this is one of his ploys; if he were re-entering the New York arena, I'd think he'd want to do something pretty spiffy and a renegade retrospective would be perfect."
So far, Triple Candie hasn't heard anything from the artist, Mr. Nesbett said, but no one is waiting by the phone either. "We would have expected any response from him to be something really obscure," he said, "like a gift left anonymously at our front door." When asked for his thoughts, Mr. Hammons replied promptly by e-mail. He had nothing to say.