‘The Melt Goes on Forever’ Trailer: David Hammons Documentary Sheds Light on an Elusive Genius

The versatile artist's career is explored in this new documentary, opening at Film Forum on May 5.
"The Melt Goes on Forever: The Art & Times of David Hammons"
"The Melt Goes on Forever: The Art & Times of David Hammons"
Courtesy Greenwich Entertainment

David Hammons has been one of the most influential creatives in the world of fine arts for the past half-century, but his elusive persona has turned him into an enigma. Working in a variety of mediums ranging from sculpture to prints of his own body to elaborate museum installations, he has found consistent success without limiting himself to an easily defined visual style. And he virtually never grants interviews or public appearances, allowing his work to speak for itself.

That combination of talent and evasiveness has caused many an artist to be deified throughout human history, so it’s hardly surprising that Hammons has taken on larger-than-life status among some art aficionados. Now, a new documentary is attempting to shed light on Hammons’ provocative career at the top of the art world. “The Melt Goes on Forever: The Art & Times of David Hammon” examines the stylistic evolutions that Hammons has gone through over the years and seeks to explain why his politically charged voice has remained so relevant for so long. The film also explores his status as one of the most prominent Black voices in an overwhelmingly white industry and the behind-the-scenes philanthropic work he has done to help other Black artists find opportunities.

“The Melt Goes on Forever: The Art & Times of David Hammons” is directed by Judd Tully and Harold Crooks. The film’s hip-hop and jazz-influenced score earned a 2022 IDA award for Best Music Score. The film was acquired by Greenwich Entertainment earlier this month.

“Having our documentary about the elusive art star David Hammons released by Greenwich is the realization of our ambition that his career – without precedent in American art history – be widely known,” Tully and Crooks said following the acquisition. “Using rare archives, animation, and an awarding-winning score with jazz and hip-hop legends, we were able to portray a rule-breaking artist who has defied the hyper-commercial art market as he recast ‘tragic magic’ discarded and found materials into a spiritually charged new art language.”

Greenwich Entertainment will release “The Melt Goes on Forever: The Art & Times of David Hammons” at New York City’s Film Forum on Friday, May 5. Watch the trailer, an IndieWire exclusive, below.

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