Gary Simmons is known for using icons and stereotypes of popular culture to create works that address personal and collective experiences of race and class. For the artist’s first exhibition with Hauser & Wirth in London, Simmons will present a selection of brand-new paintings and sculptures. In these new works, Simmons continues to use erasure of the image as a powerful and recurring theme, a formal and aesthetic breakthrough technique that has informed much of his work and holds deep cultural significance. Used as a form of action painting, Simmons wipes the surface of his work while the paint is still wet in order to smear the image so that it simultaneously emerges and disappears. The tropes of erasure and ephemerality suggest the fleeting nature of memory and histories re-written, particularly in relation to the politics of race.
The first comprehensive survey of Simmons’ work, ‘Gary Simmons: Public Enemy,’ will open at The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago from 13 June – 1 October 2023 and will be the most in-depth presentation of Simmons’ work to date, covering thirty years of the artist’s career.