American, born 1943
Made of lowly, discarded, often ephemeral objects such as hair, empty bottles, and old tires, David Hammons’s art bears the pulsating energy of street life, particularly that of Harlem. The title of this work refers to Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” a song that soberly describes a lynching in the South. The bare, curling branches of this shaky, makeshift tree recall African American hair, a frequent image in Hammons’s art. Its “fruits” consist of political buttons featuring prominent Black leaders such as Jesse Jackson and Angela Davis—emblems honoring the essential activism of the Black community.