Gary Simmons (b. 1964) lives and works in New York, NY. Simmons received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1988 from the School of Visual Arts in New York, NY and received a Masters of Fine Art degree in 1990 from The California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, CA.
Simmons is the recipient of the 2013 Joyce Alexander Wein Prize, The Studio Museum Harlem; 1991 Penny McCall Foundation Grant; and the 1990 National Endowment for the Arts, Interarts Grant.
Simmons has had domestic and international exhibitions at 262 Bowery, New York, NY;
Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA; Baldwin Gallery, Aspen, CO; The Bohen Foundation, New York, NY; CAIS Gallery, Seoul/Hong Kong; The California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA; The Contemporary, New York, NY; Culture Lab Detroit, Detroit, MI; The Dia Center, New York, NY; The Fabric Workshop/Museum, Philadelphia, PA; Galeri Charlotte Lund, Stockholm, Sweden; Galerie Philippe Rizzo, Paris, France; The Gallery of the Department of Art & Art History, Dana Arts Center, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.; Ikkan Art Gallery, Singapore; Jan Weiner Gallery, Kansas City, MO; Jason Rubell Gallery, Miami, FL; Kunsthaus, Zurich, Switzerland; Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Metro Pictures, New York, NY; Montgomery Glasoe Fine Art, Minneapolis, MN; Musée D’Art Americain, Giverny, France; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Chicago, IL; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA; The Museum of Modern Art, Fort Worth, TX; Perez Art Museum, Miami, FL; Regen Projects, Los Angeles, CA; Roy Boyd Gallery, Santa Monica, CA; The Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis, MO; SAKS, Geneva, Switzerland; Simon Lee Gallery, London, UK; Simon Watson Gallery, New York, NY; SITE Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM; Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; Video Gallery, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; White Columns, New York, NY; and Whitney Museum at Philip Morris, New York, NY.
Selected public collections include Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Judith Rothschild Foundation, New York, NY; Jumex Collection, Mexico City, Mexico; The Miami Art Museum, Miami, FL; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Peter Norton Family Foundation, Santa Monica, CA; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR; The Rubell Collection, Miami, FL; The Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO; San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Studio Museum Harlem, New York, NY; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.
The exhibition "Gary Simmons: Dancing in Darkness" will be on view at Simon Lee Gallery, Hong Kong from 4 July to 29 August 2020.
These works examine the ways in which we attempt to reconstruct the past via personal and collective memory. Simmons delves into his own archive of imagery in order to retrace his personal history while at the same time demonstrating the impossibility of eradicating racial and cultural stereotypes from our shared conscience. The grey palette, paying subtle homage to Gerhard Richter, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, is an ironic wink at Simmons’ own inclusion in the art historical canon, recalling also the chalkboards used in his first erasure drawings in the 1990s.
Gary Simmons' solo exhibition "Screaming into the Ether" is on view at Metro Pictures. In light of the current circumstances facing New York, the exhibition will now be available exclusively online.
Gary Simmons's latest work expands the artist’s decades-long examination into the propagation of racial stereotypes through American media and its devastating effects on how people of color perceive themselves and are perceived by others. The twenty new paintings on view reconsider his signature “erasure” technique and the racist cartoon characters Simmons first appropriated in his renowned chalkboard drawings from the early 1990s.
Gary Simmons is included in "Sanctuary: Recent Acquisitions to the Permanent Collection", curated by Mar Hollingsworth, at the California African American Museum, Los Angeles from 18 March - 6 September 2020.
Sanctuary features recently acquired works that explore the concepts of safety and refuge as they relate to the African American experience. Whether real, staged, or imagined, the worlds depicted in these photographs and mixed-media works support complex narratives and assert the importance of claiming a place of one’s own.
In several instances, photographs are displayed alongside three-dimensional sculptural works by the same artist. For example, Gary Simmons’s photograph of an empty academic setting appears in tandem with one of his ghostly erased drawings of coniferous trees on a school chalkboard.
In 1992, motivated by an interest in Black authorship and self-fashioning, Simmons set up a portable photo studio with painted 'backdrop' paintings at Harlem’s Rucker Park basketball courts and the African Street Festival in Brooklyn, offering free Polaroids to those he photographed. The thirteen paintings that served as portrait backdrop were shown alongside the almost 850 instant photos at Metro Pictures in 1993.
Simmons revives the project and will offer complimentary photographs to select participants during the run of Frieze Los Angeles from 14 - 16 February 2020.
Gary Simmons is included in the exhibition "Making Community: Prints from Brandywine Workshop and Archives, Brodsky Center at PAFA, and Paulson Fontaine Press" from 1 February - 12 April 2020 at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
"Making Community: Prints from Brandywine Workshop and Archives, Brodsky Center at PAFA, and Paulson Fontaine Press" celebrates printmaking, a longstanding ever-expanding artistic form, especially at PAFA. This exhibition brings together an exceptional group of nearly one hundred artworks from PAFA's Permanent Collection, selected from nearly two hundred artworks in this medium that have recently been acquired by PAFA.
Gary Simmons is included in "between the sun and the moon" at the Lahore Biennale, Pakistan from 26 January - 29 February 2020.
The second Lahore Biennale (LB02) builds on the success of the inaugural Lahore Biennale of 2018 (LB01), fostering new linkages with the wider region. LB01 focused on the local, national and the South Asian context. LB02 consolidates these ties and foregrounds new relations with Central Asian, West Asian, and African contexts. It does so by bringing significant artistic forms and projects to Lahore, and commissioning new works by artists who have not previously engaged with the city.
Gary Simmons is included in "Inaugural Exhibition" at The Rubell Museum, Miami which opened 4 December 2019 and is ongoing.
The Rubell Museum announced that its new campus will open on December 4, 2019 with a museum-wide installation of works that chronicle key artists, moments, and movements in vital arts centers over the past 50 years. The inaugural exhibition encompasses more than 300 works by 100 artists, providing one of the most far-ranging museum exhibitions of contemporary art ever presented. Drawn entirely from their expansive collection of over 7,200 works by more than 1,000 artists, the exhibition features defining and seminal works by artists whom the Rubells championed as they were first emerging (often becoming the first collectors to acquire their work) and those who had been overlooked.
Gary Simmons will be included in the exhibition "Reflections: Matt Black x Gana Art" at Gana Art Center, Seoul, Korea. The exhibition will be on view from 1 November 2019 - 12 January 2020.
In collaboration with filmmaker and curator, Matt Black, this exhibition is centered around his film titled “Reflections.” Through his interviews with Taryn Simon, Robert Longo, Jeff Koons and more, Matt Black demonstrates the rapidly changing trend of the contemporary art scene and successfully draws honest stories behind their artworks.
Gary Simmons and Leonardo Drew in "Generations: A History of Black Abstract Art" from the Joyner/Giuffrida Collection at the Baltimore Museum of Art from 29 September 2019 - 19 January 2020. The exhibition offers a sweeping new perspective on the contributions black artists have made to the evolution of visual art from the 1940s to the present moment. Artists featured include pioneers of postwar abstraction once overlooked by history, such as Norman Lewis, Alma W. Thomas, and Jack Whitten, as well as artists from a younger generation such as Kevin Beasley, Mark Bradford, Martin Puryear, Lorna Simpson, and many others.
Gary Simmons will be included in the exhibition "Direct Message: Art, Language, and Power" at the MCA Chicago from 26 October 2019 - 12 January 2020. The exhibition focuses on the ways artists reveal patterns within communication, exploring how shared media platforms shape our lives. Proceeding from a belief in the power of language as the basis for our outlook and actions, the exhibition considers the ways artists rearrange and reconfigure communication structures as starting points for social critique and political inquiry.
Gary Simmons will be included in the exhibition, 'Get Up, Stand Up Now: Generations of Black Creative Pioneers', at Somerset House, London, UK. This summer, Somerset House celebrates the past 50 years of Black creativity in Britain and beyond, in a major new exhibition spanning art, film, photography, music, literature, design and fashion.
Leonardo Drew and Gary Simmons will both be included in Black Refractions, "a landmark initiative that explores the vital contributions of artists of African descent, proposing a plurality of narratives of black artistic production and multiple approaches to understanding these works," first at the Museum of African Diaspora in San Francisco, then the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, the Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts, Smith College, Frye Art Museum, and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.
Gary Simmons' Recapturing Memories of the Black Ark will be included in Desert X 19 in Palm Springs, CA. On view 9 February through 21 April 2019.
Gary Simmons will be included in the exhibition, '30 Americans', at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE from 2 February to 5 May 2019. "30 Americans explores the evolving roles of black subjects in art since the 1970s and highlights some of the most pressing social and political issues facing our country today, including ongoing narratives of racial inequality; the construction of racial, gender, and sexual identity; and the pernicious underpinnings and effects of stereotyping."
Gary Simmons will be included in The Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art's exhibition, "Prisoner of Love", from 26 January - 27 October 2019. Centered around this filmic journey, the exhibition features a rotating body of work from the MCA's collection (including Gary Simmons) inspired by the titular themes in Bruce Nauman's iconic neon Life, Death, Love, Hate, Pleasure, Pain. The work's title establishes the themes of three rotating groups of artwork in the exhibition’s final gallery: life and death, love and hate, and pleasure and pain.
Simon Lee Gallery is pleased to present Green Past Gold, an exhibition of new work by Los Angeles-based artist, Gary Simmons. This is his fourth solo exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition will be on view from 13 September - 20 October 2018.
Across his wide-ranging practice racial, social and cultural politics have been central themes and continue to occupy this recent series of the artist’s signature ‘erasure drawings’. Since the early stages of his career, Simmons has used the act of erasure as a means by which to interrogate racial identity and oppression in America. In these new monumentally-scaled works, he depicts the names of African-American actors of the silver screen alongside the titles of the silent films and early ‘talking pictures’ in which they starred. Towering over the viewer as though cinema screens themselves, each work is crafted over time with washes of grayscale pigment that evoke the wiped-clean slate of a blackboard. At centre stage, the oft-forgotten names of black screen actors are illuminated in glowing white paint, while the titles of the films recede into the background, smudged almost to oblivion.
Simon Lee Gallery New York is pleased to present The Tissue of Memory, a cross-generational group exhibition that considers the gesture and its history, as exemplified by the practices of Kelly Akashi, Robert Mangold, Agnes Martin, Win McCarthy, Monique Mouton, Josephine Pryde, Gary Simmons, Cy Twombly and Heimo Zobernig. The exhibition will be on view from 12 September - 10 November 2018.
Employing signs, forms, and gestures in service of inscription, the works on view demonstrate artists' thinking through the medium at hand and materials influencing composition.
Baldwin Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition Gary Simmons: Within Our Gates, 27 July - 4 September 2018.
São Paulo Museum of Art is pleased to present the group exhibition Afro-Atlantic Histories at São Paulo Museum of Art, featuring works by Gary Simmons. The exhibition will be on view from 28 June - 21 October 2018. Afro-Atlantic Histories presents a selection of 450 works by 214 artists ranging from the 16th to 21st centuries and centered on the “ebbs and flows” among Africa, Americas, Caribbean and also Europe, to borrow the famous phrase by Pierre Verger, the French ethnologist, photographer and babalô priest who made Bahia his home.
Brazil is a central territory in the Afro-Atlantic histories, having received about 46% of the roughly 11 million Africans brought against their will to this side of the ocean throughout more than 300 years. The country also was the last to end the slave trade with the so called Golden Law of 1888, which perversely did not include any social integration plan, setting the stage for enduring economic, political and racial inequalities. On the other hand, Brazil’s leading role in those histories also sowed here a rich and lasting legacy from African cultures.
Afro-Atlantic Histories is motivated by the desire and need to draw parallels, frictions and dialogues around the visual cultures of Afro-Atlantic territories – their experiences, creations, worshiping and philosophy. The so-called Black Atlantic, to use the term coined by Paul Gilroy, is geography lacking precise borders, a fluid field where African experiences invade and occupy other nations, territories and cultures.
Gary Simmons is featured in "Dimension of Black" at the Jan Shrem and Maris Manetti Shrem Museum of Art.
Organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in collaboration with the San Diego African American Museum of Fine Art, Dimensions of Black traces the legacy of UC San Diego's MFA program by drawing from the museums' permanent collections. With over 30 artworks from the 1960s to today, the exhibition traverses crucial interests and perspectives that have shaped the art of our time. Artists include: Robert Colescott, Charles Gaines, Sam Gilliam, Mark Steven Greenfield, David Hammons, Daniel LaRue Johnson, Martin Puryear, Gary Simmons, Lorna Simpson, Carrie Mae Weems, Jack Whitten.
The California African American Museum in Los Angeles will present "Gary Simmons: Fade to Black" 12 July 2017 - July 2018.
Artist Gary Simmons--who recently returned to Los Angeles, where in 1990 he received his MFA at CalArts--references film, architecture, and American popular culture in paintings and drawings that address race, class, and memory. Much of Simmons work centers on his signature erasure techniques. Early on he drew in white chalk on readymade chalkboards or directly onto slate-painted walls, then smudged the images with his hands. In recent years he has adapted the process to canvas and large-scale wall works, such as Blue Field Explosions (2009), a monumental drawing in the stadium that is home to the Dallas Cowboys. In his first museum exhibition in Los Angeles, Simmons' "canvas" will be the four 440-square-foot walls in CAAM's grand lobby, where he is creating a site-specific drawing.
This exhibition is curated by CAAM's Deputy Director, Exhibitions and Programs, Naima J. Keith.
Gary Simmons, Blue Field Explosions, 2009. Urethane, pigment, and oil stick, 21' x 67'. © Gary Simmons, Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles
Urban Planning: Art and the City 1967–2017 presents twenty-four renowned artists responding to the social, political, economic, and environmental effects of urban development in the United States. Urban Planning explores momentous social upheavals—the Civil Rights movement, gentrification, post-industrialization, white flight, the emptying of American cities, and the expansion of the suburbs—through a variety of media, including sculpture, drawing, photography, moving image, and installation. Rather than pose a definitive historical trajectory, the exhibition embraces a ruminative and introspective approach, winding through time and place to touch on situations and themes ranging from the sociopolitical to the deeply personal, all through the lens of artistic observation.
Simon Lee Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of new paintings, wall work and sculptures by New York based artist Gary Simmons, in his third solo show at the gallery.
In his new body of work Simmons continues to excavate politics, music, race and class within American and British culture.
Drawing on the DIY aesthetic of punk, dub and early hip hop music and the tradition of street fly-posting to promote gigs and events, Simmons’ rainbow saturated coloured paintings reveal traces of the long forgotten individual and collective creative voices that have informed and shaped contemporary culture.
Gary Simmons is included in Time/Image at the Blaffer Art Museum. Time / Image is organized around the work of 11 international artists and filmmakers–-Siemon Allen, Matthew Buckingham, Allan deSouza, Andrea Geyer, Leslie Hewitt, Isaac Julien, Lorraine O’Grady, Trevor Paglen, Raqs Media Collective, Ruth Robbins, and Gary Simmons–-who understand time expansively rather than quantitatively. These artists seek out and develop temporal strategies of representation across film, video, photography and painting that revive ghostly residues of the past, propose unexpected alignments across time periods, or reveal time-bending properties of their materials.
Gary Simmons will be included in “All the World’s Futures” at the Venice Biennale, Venezia Giardini – Arsenale Orario, Venice, Italy.
9 May – 22 November 2015
In conjunction with the opening of Project Gallery: Gary Simmons, the artist will discuss the newly commissioned, large-scale mural that he created for PAMM’s double-height project gallery with PAMM Curator René Morales.
Thursday 13 November 2014
Metro Pictures is pleased to present Gary Simmons: Fight Night, an exhibition of new works by Gary Simmons.
30 October - 13 December 2014
Gary Simmons is included in Prospect.3: Notes for Now (P.3), an international contemporary art biennial. P.3 will feature the work of 58 artists selected by Artistic Director Franklin Sirmans in 18 venues located throughout New Orleans.
16 October 2014 - 25 January 2015
Gary Simmons is included in Black Eye Art, a group exhibition curated by Nicola Vassell.
3 May - 24 May 2014
Baldwin Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of works by Gary Simmons on view from 26 December 2013 - 2 February 2014.
26 December 2013 - 2 February 2014
The Studio Museum in Harlem has awarded the eighth annual Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize to Gary Simmons. The Wein Prize, one of the most significant awards given to individual artists in the United States today, was established in 2006 by jazz impresario, musician and philanthropist George Wein to honor his late wife, a long-time Trustee of the Studio Museum and a woman whose life embodied a commitment to the power and possibilities of art and culture.
LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division) will present Painting in Place, a group exhibition of contemporary painting in the historic Farmers and Merchants Bank in Downtown Los Angeles.
Artists include Rita Ackermann, Kevin Appel, Jennifer Boysen, Sarah Cain, N. Dash, Matias Faldbakken, Kim Fisher, Barnaby Furnas, Alexandra Grant, Matt Greene, Mark Hagen, David Hendren, Julian Hoeber, Rashid Johnson, Jacob Kassay, Olga Koumoundouros, Jim Lee, Nate Lowman, Allison Miller, Sam Moyer, Amanda Ross-Ho, Analia Saban, Kate Shepherd, Gary Simmons, Vincent Szarek, Britton Tolliver, Kon Trubkovich, Monique van Genderen, and Bobbi Woods.
401 South Main Street Los Angeles, CA 90013
22 May - 31 July, 2013.
Focus: Gary Simmons is currently on view at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.
13 January through 14 March 2013
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell St.
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.
November 29 2012 – January 19 2013
Gary Simmons will be included in Thenceforward, and Forever Free, a group exhibition at Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University. Thenceforward, and Forever Free is presented as part of Marquette University's Freedom Project, a year-long commemoration of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War.
The exhibition will be on view 22 August - 22 December, 2012.
The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth will feature work by Gary Simmons in the inaugural Director's Council Focus exhibition for the 2012-2013 season.
FOCUS: Gary Simmons will be on view 9 November 2012 - 6 January 2013.