Before moving to New York in 1974, David Hammons studied in Los Angeles at Chouinard Art Institute and Otis Art Institute. He was an artist in residence at The Studio Museum in Harlem in 1980–81. His solo exhibitions include David Hammons, White Cube, London (2014); David Hammons, L&M Arts, New York (2011); Sequence 1, Skulptur Projekte Munster 07, Palazzo Grassi, Venice (2007); David Hammons, L&M Arts, New York (2007); and Real Time, Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, Poland (2000).

His group exhibitions include David Hammons Yves Klein / Yves Klein David Hammons, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO (2014); Radical Conceptual: Positionen aus der Sammlung des MMK, Museum fur moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany (2010); 30 Seconds off an Inch, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2009); NeoHooDoo: Art for a Forgotten Faith, Menil Collection, Houston (2008, traveling); Person of the Crowd: The Contemporary Art of Flanerie, Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NY (2008); Black Panther Rank and File, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2006); Double Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art Since 1970, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (2005); Shadowland: An Exhibition as a Film, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2005); Seeds and Roots, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2004); The Big Nothing, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2004); Dreams and Conflicts: The Dictatorship of the Viewer, Venice Biennial (2003); and Over the Edges, Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent, Belgium (2000).