Hammons, or World’s Most Expensive Fly Swatter?

Among the top lots in the February 23, 2010 auction of African-American Fine Art was a unique Fly Swatter created in 1992 by contemporary artist David Hammons, which sold for $66,000 to a person bidding by telephone. It was estimated at $5,000 to $7,000.

Measuring about 6 feet long, the object consists of a wooden pole with wire mesh stapled to the top; the artist signed and dated the pole in ink. The work had been a gift from the artist to Sara Penn of Gallery Knobkerry in TriBeCa, New York, who consigned it to the auction.

Nigel Freeman, Director of Swann Galleries’ African-American Fine Art department said, “While I can’t say for sure that this is the most expensive fly swatter ever sold at auction, I would describe the piece as the sleeper of our sale. It sold for 11 times the pre-sale estimate, and illustrates the strong interest in David Hammons’s work today.”

Another piece by Hammons, which was illustrated on the catalogue cover, one of his signature body prints, sold for $114,000.

Read the Wall Street Journal write-up on the fly swatter.