Artist Gary Simmons Continues to Move ‘Ever Forward’

NEW YORK—“Gary Simmons: Paradise,” the first published survey of work by Gary Simmons, documents the past 20 years of the artist’s career and coincides with an exhibition of recent and earlier work at Metro Pictures.

Widely known for the chalk board paintings he created in the mid-1990s, over the years Simmons’s work has been defined by his interpretations of race, social issues and hip-hop culture.

In “Paradise,” Gwen Allen, a professor of art history at San Francisco State University, describes how the artist’s views on race influence his work:

“Far from suggesting that we are beyond race, [Simmons] insists on [race’s] unresolved nature, encouraging us to think critically and expansively about the way race informs both our current reality and the state that we are striving toward. […] Simmons does not ignore the deeply troubling past of race; as his erasure drawings so insistently demonstrate, history is not a blank slate. Yet while he acknowledges history’s weight upon the present, he renders its meaning and possibilities unpredictable and open-ended, ready to be seized upon, reimagined, reinvented.”

Gary Simmons lives and works in New York. His work is on view at Metro Pictures in Chelsea from Nov. 29, 2012 to Jan. 19, 2013.

All photos © Arts Observer

Installation view of “Here’s…Honey,” 1992.

Installation view of “Klan Gate,” 1992.

Detail of “Klan Gate.”

“Bonham Theatre,” 2010.

Detail of “Fuck Hollywood,” 1991.

Installation view of “Fuck Hollywood.

“Big Still,” 2001.

“Pump it Up, 1991.

“Shine,” 2004 (fiberglass).

“Everforward…,” 1993

“Ticket Review Fall,” 2012.

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