Public Perception bias or the story of a person selling snowballs in winter

Author:  AxelMondrian & Partners
Date: 03.05.2024, Yerevan

Have you ever thought about selling snowballs in the snow?

The renowned American artist and art critic David Hammons’ famous Bliz-aard Ball Sale (1983) stands as a thought-provoking experiment in public relations.

Let’s begin at the outset and acknowledge the modern context of social media, where the uninformed often misinterpret David Hammons’ actions, portraying him either as a resourceful beggar or a remarkably creative individual experiencing poverty. However, it’s crucial to note that by 1983, Hammons was already an artist whose work had been exhibited at MoMA, and he was in his forties.

So, what was the intention behind selling snow during winter? Art photographer Dawoud Bey, who documented the performance, sheds light on this. David Hammons sold snowballs on the streets of New York, alongside black merchants, to highlight the biases inherent in public perception, the “corruption” of perspective, so to speak. He aimed to demonstrate that with enough skill, almost anything could be sold —even a snowball in “black market”.

At AxelMondrian, we are passionate about narratives that delve into the collective unconscious. It’s our work, and we’re excited to share new stories with you soon.

Source: MoMA, The New York Times
Photo: Dawoud Bey

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