Metro Pictures presents a survey of Gary Simmons’s career that brings together a range of works produced over the last 20 years. The exhibition includes Simmons’s first chalk drawings on blackboards done in the artist’s “erasure” technique along with sculptures, paintings, photographs and a 1992 wall drawing not seen since it’s first presentation at the Drawing Center. From the row of shoeshine stands in Fuck Hollywood (1991) that are draped with towels embroidered with images of Elvis or the crows from Disney’s cartoon “Dumbo,” to his most recent multi-panel plywood sculpture mounted with drawings of 1930s posters for the historic boxing matches between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling, Simmons has thoughtfully mined the signs and symbols of race and class in American culture.
In her essay for Simmons’s new monograph Gary Simmons: Paradise, Gwen Allen writes:
“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.”
This exhibition coincides with Damiani’s publication of Paradise, which is the first overview of Simmons’s career. It includes an interview by Okwui Enwezor, texts by Gwen Allen and Charles Wylie and a reprint of an essay by Nancy Princenthal,
Simmons is the subject of the inaugural Director’s Council Focus exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art of Fort Worth, Texas (Nov. 11 – Jan. 6, 2013) and will contribute a commissioned public work for the 2012 edition of Art Basel Miami Beach in December. He has had one-person exhibitions at the Bohen Foundation, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Saint Louis Art Museum; Kunsthaus Zürich; Lannan Foundation, Los Angeles and the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington DC. His work has been included in shows at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum, New York; Menil Collection, Houston; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.