Hammons in his Harlem studio in the 1980s. Image courtesy of Micheal Blackwood.
Hammons in his Harlem studio in the 1980s. Image courtesy of Micheal Blackwood.
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The Melt Goes on Forever: The Art and Times of David Hammons

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The Melt Goes on Forever: The Art and Times of David Hammons: A Documentary Film by Judd Tully and Harold Crooks Premiering at Sheffield Documentary Festival, 23 – 28 June 2022

The Melt Goes on Forever: The Arts and Times of David Hammons chronicles the singular career of the elusive African American art star from the Watts rebellion era 60s L.A. to global art world prominence today. Hammons’ practice – rooted in a deep critique of American society and the elite art world – is in the words of one art critic “an invitation to confront the fissures between races”, as the artist seeks to go beyond the dominant culture, to a new one for the 21st century. The film features eminent artists, curators and critics, a rich trove of archival footage, animation and an evocative soundscape.

Film Co-Director Harold Crooks says:

Our chronicle of David Hammons’ art and times – created through a diverse team of creatives – is a portrait of one of America’s most important living artists. In a 50-year career fore-fronting critical societal issues, Hammons’ feat has been to emerge atop the art world without forsaking his defiantly insurgent, category-defying practice.

Composer Ramachandra Borcar drew his musical inspiration from the philosophy and approach behind Hammons’ work. Bocar’s score combines modal jazz, a variety of African musical instruments and a rhythm section made up of found objects. He brought together a roster of legendary musicians whose paths have all traveled across the Afro-jazz landscape, including Shabaka Hutchings (Sons of Kemet), Marshall Allen (Sun Ra Arkestra), Idris Ackamoor (The Pyramids) and Hip-Hop forefather Umar Bin Hassan (The Last Poets).

Hammons' installation 'How Ya Like Me Now?' in Washington D.C., 1989. Image courtesy of Phillip Brookman.
Hammons’ installation ‘How Ya Like Me Now?’ in Washington D.C., 1989. Image courtesy of Phillip Brookman.

Film participants include:
Dr. Kellie Jones, art historian
Lorna Simpson, artist
Betye Saar, artist
Franklin Sirmans, curator
Papo Colo, co-founder of Exit Art
Dominque Lévy, gallerist
Suzanne Jackson, artist
Robert Storr, critic
Robert Farris Thompson, art historian
Henry Taylor, artist

Sheffield International Documentary Festival
The Melt Goes On Forever: The Art & Times of David Hammons + Q&A
Sat 25 June 15:00 – 17:01 (The Light – Screen 9)
Sun 26 June 21:00 – 23:01 (Showroom – Channel 5 Screen 2)
Tue 28 June 12:45 – 14:46 (Showroom – Bertha DocHouse Screen 3: Closed Captioned)

Book tickets here.

The Directors

Harold Crooks, Credit: Medrie Macphee
Harold Crooks, Credit: Medrie Macphee

Harold Crooks

Harold Crooks is the director/writer of The Price We Pay, which premiered at Toronto International Film Festival, and had its European premier at CPH:DOX. Named “Best Canadian Documentary” for 2014 by the Vancouver Film Critics Circle, it was a New York Times critic’s pick, He co-directed Surviving Progress with Mathieu Roy that premiered at 2011 TIFF, CPH:- DOX and IDFA. His film writing credits include The Gig Is Up, a Hot Docs, CPH:DOX and IDFA select in 2021; and the Sundance and TIFF audience winner The Corporation (2003) whose narration he co-wrote with director Mark Achbar.

Crooks is a recipient of a Prix Gémeaux and a Genie Award from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television Genie Award, a Chicago International Film Festival Gold Hugo, a Leo Award for Best Screenwriter [Documentary] of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Foundation of B.C., a National Documentary Film Award (Best Writing) at Hot Docs 1996, and a Writers Guild of Canada Top Ten Awards finalist.

Judd Tully

Judd Tully, Credit: Anthony Sherin
Judd Tully, Credit: Anthony Sherin

Producer / director was born in Chicago and educated at American University, Washington, DC. His career in journalism began as a cub reporter with the ’70’s underground paper The Berkeley Barb where he covered the politically charged trials of the Soledad Brothers, George Jackson and Angela Davis in San Francisco and Marin County. For over two decades, he was Editor-at-Large of Art & Auction magazine. His journalism and art criticism has appeared in Flash Art, Artnews, the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and The Art Newspaper, as well as his blog juddtully.net.

Judd has been frequently interviewed on BBC Radio, CNN, MSNBC, as well as cameo appearances in a number of documentary films that chronicle the rise and fall of the art market and scandals associated with it including the CNBC “American Greed: The Art of the Steal” and “Driven to Abstraction,” the expose of the $80 million art forgery at the once-venerated Knoedler Gallery.

Judd Tully, Credit: Anthony Sherin

Judd Tully, Credit: Anthony Sherin

The Melt Goes on Forever: The Art and Times of David Hammons
The Melt Goes on Forever: The Art and Times of David Hammons

Movie title: The Melt Goes on Forever: The Art and Times of David Hammons

Date published: June 17, 2022

Director(s): Judd Tully, Harold Crooks

Actor(s): Documentary

Genre: Documentary

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