For Grades K–12
Table of Contents
Important note: This lesson plan can be adapted to focus only on innovative ways to make drawings or works of art. However, if you decide to use this lesson plan in full, much of the information contained in the work itself CANNNOT be obtained by looking at a reproduction with your students. To view the work in person, please let our tour coordinator know to include this work in a tour for your students, but be aware that no more than forty-five students can view this work during an hour visit to the Gallery. It may be necessary to plan two or more tours for larger groups.
(American, born 1943)
Basketball Drawing, 2001
Harlem earth on paper and found suitcase
116 x 46 x 12 inches (294.6 x 116.8 x 30.5 cm)
Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery
George B. and Jenny R. Mathews Fund, 2001
Background Information for Educators
- Become familiar with a work of art by David Hammons
- Make a drawing by harnessing the actions of other people
- Discuss, at age appropriate levels, ideas about authorship and open-ended narratives
- Grades K–8: Become familiar with David Hammons’s method of artmaking
- Grades 8–12: Become familiar with David Hammons’s ideas about art
- Large sheets of strong, absorbent paper, such as Stonehenge or watercolor paper
- Wide masking tape
- Surveyor PowerPoint
Enlist the help of your cafeteria or physical education staff for this activity.
Place a LARGE sheet of paper—with masking tape on all edges to prevent tripping—either on the school’s basketball court or somewhere in the cafeteria: maybe at the entrance or along the line where students pick up their food. The paper should be a thick, textural paper (such as Stonehenge) or a watercolor paper. (Look online to buy a large sheet or roll if you want to use a really big sheet, or tape down several smaller papers in a row, or even in separate places.) Leave the paper for a week. At the end of a week, or when it looks finished, carefully remove the tape and hang the work up to look at. Look very carefully at the paper.
Ask these questions:
- What marks do you see? Can you tell what made them?
- Who made this artwork? Who should be identified as the artist?
- Does the image the marks made on the paper remind you of anything?
- What story does this work tell?
- What might have happened if you had left the paper taped in its location longer?
- If you were to display this work of art, would you add anything to help tell its story?
- What title would you give the work?
Write a story to display with the artwork.
Then, look carefully at the two views of the work by David Hammons in Slide #3 of the Surveyor PowerPoint.
Share with your students that David Hammons made this artwork by bouncing a basketball on paper, using earth from Harlem, New York to make the marks. He then framed the drawing and propped a suitcase between the drawing and the wall. The suitcase is held in place by the drawing! Can your students find the drawing? The frame? The suitcase? (See the image at the bottom of this page.)
After you have seen the artwork in the museum, use these questions to stimulate a discussion:
- What do you remember seeing when you saw this work of art in person?
- What is abstract about this work of art? What is realistic?
- Is there anything else you remember about the artwork?
- What do you remember about the suitcase? What do you think the suitcase might mean? Why would David Hammons decide to include it?
- What do you remember about the frame? Why do you think he chose to frame the drawing? What do you think the frame could mean? If the frame looked different, how would the work of art be changed? Would it have a different meaning?
- Why would he use dirt to make the marks instead of charcoal or paint?
- Why do you think he chose to use dirt from Harlem, New York?
- Did you know he asks the museum to hang the work of art at the height of a regulation basketball net? Why do you think he decided to hang the artwork at that height?
For Grades K–12:
Learn about Jackson Pollock, another artist who made his artwork by placing his canvas on the ground. What influenced him? How is his artwork different from the artwork your students made on the ground in their school? How is it the same? How is his artwork different from David Hammons’s artwork? How is it the same?
For Grades 8–12:
Research David Hammons on the internet at the sites provided below. What do you think he was trying to say about basketball? About art? About American culture? About Harlem, New York?
An interview with David Hammons can be found on Slide #4 of the PowerPoint, and online here:
Additional information about David Hammons can be found at:
- New York State Learning Standards for the Arts (Visual Arts, including the museum visit) 1, 2, 3, 4
- New York State Learning Standards for Social Studies 1 (for optional discussion with grades 8–12)
- College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Language 1, 3 (for optional research and discussion about Jackson Pollock with grades K–12), 5 (for grades 8–12)
- College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (for optional discussion with grades 8–12), 7, 9 (for optional research and discussion about Jackson Pollock with grades K–12), 11 (New York only)
- College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening 1, 2, 3 (for optional discussion for grades 8–12), 4
Audio for Younger Students
Audio for High School Students