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.
"Nostalgia" only in that the show may trigger in some visitors clear memories of what it evokes: the drive-in theater experience of "blaxploitation" movies.
The blaxploitation phenomenon marked Hollywood's grudging wager that an audience might exist for slangy melodrama featuring African American actors and directors.
The films may have been carefully, some even cynically, targeted. But they reached well beyond their intended audience. Often they blew the euphemistic lid off of "polite" society's - and movies' - embedded race and class biases, if only by resort to lurid caricature. Misogyny often got a pass. (I wonder what impact these movies had on Simmons, a child at the turn of the '70s.)
The prospect of an African American president then had less credibility than science fiction. So Simmons' ensemble at Meier has a wrong-end-of-the-telescope effect. It makes us feel more incapable than usual, not less, of gauging the recession or repatterning since then of cultural misreadings and antagonisms between black and white...
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.