By Jodie Bass
Jan. 07, 2015
"Gary Simmons is a contemporary artist, teacher, collaborator, and proud father of one. He was formally trained in painting, but his body of work interrogates notions of race, pop culture, social stereotypes, and politics through a variety of mixed media. After twenty-five years of art making, his work has been acquired by a host of major public art institutions... I caught up with him at the site of his current show in the Treme, as participant of the biennial Prospect.3, the afternoon before the performance with the hip-hop artist Beans (Robert Edward Stewart II), a long time friend. This is Simmons’ first experience working in New Orleans..."
Who We Be: The Colorization of America
By Jeff Chang
St. Martin's Press
Dec. 12, 2014
“…. You saw Gary Simmons’s Wall of Eyes , a fifteen-foot-long blackboard on which he had drawn dozens of cartoon eyes— evoking minstrel songs and Mel Blanc voices— then partially erased them as if in an agitated frenzy. You saw his other work— high-top sneakers aligned in front of a police station measuring wall, bodiless but gold-plated. Simmons called it what they called something like this in America, Line-Up . Golden called it “the inner-city equivalent of a casting call…’”
PAMM Project Gallery: Gary Simmons
Nov. 14, 2014
"... Simmons will create an ambitious new work for the PAMM’s stunning double-height project gallery—a large, ephemeral mural to be painted directly on the gallery’s 30-foot high and 29-foot wide back wall. A single work by Simmons is capable of evoking a multiplicity of meanings, simultaneously referencing a buried episode in the painful history of race relations in the United States and the artist’s own childhood memories, for example. Simmons is known for his use of an eerie erasure effect, which he achieves by blurring his drawings with his hands. Recalling the look of chalk on blackboards, the effect reinforces the mysterious quality of Simmons’ imagery while suggesting movement, the fleetingness of time, the pliability of history, and the inevitable fading of both cultural and personal memory..."
Gary Simmons's Boxing-Related Art at Two Locations
By Jessica Dawson
The Wall Street Journal
Oct. 24, 2014
"In an art world where stats are often tallied in terms of USD, GBP and EUR, artist Gary Simmons prefers to talk about RBIs and TKOs.
The artist, 50, has channeled a passion for sports into a 25-year career mining recurring motifs—text, architecture and athletics among them—to weigh in on race and inequality in America. This fall, Mr. Simmons, who lives in Sag Harbor, N.Y., is participating in the Prospect New Orleans art biennial and will open two exhibitions dedicated to the sweet science—boxing.
Mr. Simmons recalls listening as a child to bouts on the radio with his father. He admired heavyweights such as Jack Johnson,Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali, whose influence reached beyond the ring. “They were able to make certain statements culturally or socially that went outside the sport, that people felt very close to,” he says..."
Gary Simmons at Perez Art Museum Project Gallery
Aug. 15, 2014
"PAMM has commissioned Gary Simmons to create an ambitious new work for the museum’s stunning double-height Project Gallery. The New York-based artist will create a large, ephemeral mural painting directly on the gallery’s back wall, which measures 30 feet high by 29 feet wide. Simmons is best known for enigmatic compositions that consist of deceptively simple motifs rendered atop broad fields of monochromatic pigment. He extracts these motifs from a variety of archival and pop-cultural sources, arriving at each selection through an intensive research process..."
By Matt Black
Aug. 27, 2013
"Gary Simmons unravels the influence that hi-tops, boom boxes and Public Enemy have had over his work in the latest installment of Matt Black’s Reflections series…
Director Black sat down with [Simmons] in his Chelsea gallery Metro Pictures… and was struck by both the intensity of Simmons and the breadth of his work that has shown at MoMA and the Whitney. “We spent the afternoon talking about New York, music, boxing and tattoos,” [Black] says, citing Simmons’ installations “Fuck Hollywood” and “Line Up” as his favorite works, before adding: “In both he uses sneakers to tell a story of America. The result is always both subtle and powerful, with a haunting quality.”"
NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash And No Star
By Anne Doran
Art in America
Apr. 29, 2013
"...Gary Simmons explores the knowing appropriation of stereotypes for the purpose of self-branding by African-American youths. He took painted backdrop cloths emblazoned with slogans like "Gangsta Bitch" into the streets and photographed kids posing in front of them..."
In The Studio: Gary Simmons
By Noah Becker
Jan. 01, 2013
"Gary Simmons makes site-specific drawings, installation pieces, and various forms inspired by such things as television, memory, iconography, presence, absence, and the politics of race on a global level. Simmons expresses more universal social issues through the influence of hip-hop, specifically a reverence for the legendary group Public Enemy. In an interview with Okwui Enwezor, Simmons said that his aim is to “integrate the theoretical with the beautiful to create stunning objects.” Simmons accomplishes this goal, and in his recent project based on the political implications of boxing, goes beyond it. It is the artist’s job to present something beyond the spectacle, to uncover the layers of dialogue beneath the headlines..."
By Gwen Allen
Feb. 01, 2011
"The so-called blaxploitation film genre courted controversy during its meteoric rise (and equally precipitous disappearance) in the 1970s. Marketed specifically to black audiences and defined by unprecedented depictions of black heroes fighting a villainous white establishment, these films were, on the other hand, hailed for offering revolutionary representations of black power, and, on the other, condemned for perpetuating racial stereotypes and glamorizing violence, drugs, and extramarital sex..."
Gary Simmons on '70s 'blaxploitation' nostalgia
By Kenneth Baker
The San Francisco Chronicle
Dec. 04, 2010
"In his show at Anthony Meier's New Yorker, Gary Simmons enters an area little explored in contemporary art: nostalgia for the 1970s..."
Oksana Katchaluba on Gary Simmons
By Oksana Katchaluba
Sep. 01, 2010
"Double Feature, Gary Simmons's first solo exhibition in Switzerland, consists of seven medium to large-scale works, most of which are executed in Simmons's typical technique of pigment, oil paint and cold wax on canvas: textured, lush, monochrome surfaces on which the subject is displayed in contrasting white paint. The paintings in the exhibition draw their imagery from American mainstream culture, often referencing classic horror movies or using symbols, such as famous drive-in theater marquees, that evoke notions of Hollywood and Americana..."
Gary Simmons Double Feature
By editors of Artcollector
Sep. 01, 2010
TimeOut New York Listing
By TimeOut New York editors
TimeOut New York
Feb. 01, 2010
...Gary Simmons, "Midnight Matinee."
These multipanel drawings pull from the perspective of film to achieve their encompassing effect...
Reviews: New York
By Doug McClemont
Jan. 01, 2010
"...Also strong was the large oil on canvas Spade Fall (2004) by Gary Simmons..."
Words and Images: The works of Mel Bochner and Gary Simmons at Cowboys Stadium
By Charles Wylie
Dallas Cowboys Star Gameday
Nov. 01, 2009
pp. 147 - 148
"...Already gaining positive attention from national and international press, the Cowboys Stadium art program seeks to fire the imagination as well as intrigue the eyes, as it brings an unprecedented number of people up close to some of the most exciting art and artists of our time.
Most of the artists chosen created their works with specific Cowboys Stadium spaces in mind. This is the case with two American artists, Gary Simmons and Mel Bochner, who both came up with the idea of zeroing in on what happens on and around a playing field during the heat of a game. While Simmons adapts imagery we recognize from movie and cartoon battles, Bochner selects language we all have no doubt uttered perhaps, more accurately, yelled—at a game, match or meet..."
By Dale Brauner
ESPN The Magazine
Nov. 01, 2009
"...As part of his Cowboys Art Program, Jerry Jones commissioned 14 contemporary pieces by renowned artists to hang in his new Colosseum. "My piece came on TV during the home opener," says Gary Simmons, referring to his Blue Field Explosions installation..."
Dallas Scores Again
By Stephanie Cash
Art in America
Oct. 01, 2009
"In recent years Dallas as significantly bolstered its visibility on the international art scene, from the 2003 opening of the Renzo Piano-designed Nasher Sculpture Center to the debut on Oct. 12 of the ambitious $254-mission Dallas Center for the Performing Arts, comprising the Winspear Opera House designed by Norman Foster; City Performance Hall by Skidmore, Owings & merrill; and the Wylie Theater by Rem Koolhass, which features a stage curtain designed by Guillermo Kuitca [see A.i.A., Dec. '08]...But art is also croppung up in unexpected places, namely the new $1.15 billion Cowboys Stadium in Arlington - at a whipping 3 million square feel the NFL's largest...The Joneses' ongoing commissioning program launched with 14 site-specific works, some touching on Texas or Cowboys motifs, including a mural by Gary Simmons, an expanse of team-hued cobalt blue bearing grayish pufflike "explosions" reminiscent of his signature chalkboard drawings..."
Undefeated Billboard Project Version 23: Gary Simmons
By highsnobiety.com editors
Aug. 12, 2009
"Once again the billboard above the Undefeated Los Angeles store on La Brea has been updated. This time they worked with artist Gary Simmons. The artist created the “Purple Haze” artwork on the large billboard. Something you should have a hard time missing when in the area..."
By Jonathan TD. Neil
Mar. 01, 2009
pp. 128 - 129
"Towards the end of his catalogue essay for 30Americans, 'Looking B(I)ack: Reflections of White Racism', Robert
Hobbs lists various racial 'inequities' (compiled by Sally Lehrman, a reporter and fellow with the University of
Southern California's Institute for Justice and Journalism). And though the list begins in the realm of economics
-as a percentage, two times more blacks than whites hold low-paying jobs or are unemployed; blacks are denied
mortgages more often than whites - it quickly enters the realm of death and dismemberment - cancer death
rates, as compared to whites, are as much as 90 to 100 times more 'accelerated' for blacks; mortality rates from stroke and heart disease are greater for blacks than for whites; due to inadequate treatment for diabetes and
hypertension, blacks receive lower-limb amputations in greater numbers than whites..."
Behind 'Smoke,' fiery messages
By Christopher Knight
The Los Angeles Times
Nov. 07, 2008
"Gary Simmons is adept at traversing intersections of art and popular culture in ways that pry open otherwise overlooked meanings. His five new paintings and four drawings at the Margo Leavin Gallery continue this long-standing practice. They also deftly insert the result into a political season disturbingly marked by the contradictions between the election of the first African American president and the coded racism of much of the opposition to him.
"Smoke," as the body of work is collectively titled, shows schematic linear renderings of Modernist skyscrapers and office buildings as well as some cultural edifices. Most are in Century City, but the familiar curve of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown Los Angeles is easy to identify. One 7-foot-square canvas features just the first 1 1/2 letters of the Hollywood sign, which is so distinctive it's immediately recognizable. The fact that the Chandler is the former home of the Academy Awards floats into mind..."
By editors of Studio Museum in Harlem newsletter
Studio Museum in Harlem newsletter
Nov. 01, 2008
"This exhibition includes over two hundred works by thirty African-American artists, many of whom have also had their work exhibited at the Studio Museum..."
Living with Art
By Mark Getlein
Nov. 28, 2006
pp. 153 - 155
"This chapter ends with a bang or at least a drawing of one (6.17). Gary Simmons takes his inspiration from a drawing medium that accompanies most of all through childhood and adolescence: chalk on blackboard. Simmons has created numerous drawings on actual blackboards. In gallery and museum settings, he often coats walls with slate paint to create blackboard-like mural surfaces, as here in boom..."
If These Walls Could Talk
By Merrily Kerr
Jan. 01, 2003
pp. 98 -100
"The story begins in the remote mountains of northern georgia. Four buddies from the city are canoeing down a river on a weekend trip when their back-to-nature bonding experience suddenly turns into a nightmare. Out of the blue, a couple of backwoodsmen hold two of the part at gunpoint and rape one of them. This is both the pivotal scene in the 1972 Deliverance and the inspiration for "Here, Piggy Piggy," a new sculpture by Gary Simmons. "Here, Piggy Piggy" is an all white, fiberglass replica of the two hillbillies but with a twist. Their overall, grimy caps, and appalling dental hygiene are the same, but they have been transformed into bobbleheads, with giant rotating heads and shrunken bodies of a child's..."
ART IN REVIEW; Gary Simmons
By Roberta Smith
The New York Times
Dec. 02, 2002
Gary Simmons's exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem reveals an artist who has settled on too little too soon. In many ways, it is a beautiful show; Mr. Simmons has a great touch. But the smeared-chalk wall drawings and spinning images for which he is best known are becoming a bit toothless.
They once made the racial stereotypes rife in popular culture -- especially animated cartoons -- scarily clear by giving them a semblance of furious destabilizing motion. Now, Mr. Simmons has moved on to a more generalized, if still dark, American nostalgia of abandoned movie palaces, bars and amusement parks. And he has done so without expanding on the largely inherited Minimalist-Conceptualist vocabulary basic to his art.