Gary Simmons: Public Enemy

Tuesday, Jun 13 – Oct 1, 2023

220 E. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611

Griffin Galleries of Contemporary Art

Gary Simmons: Public Enemy is a comprehensive survey of the richly layered work of Gary Simmons (b. 1964, New York, NY). Among the most respected artists of his generation, Simmons has played a key role in situating questions of race, class, and gender identity at the center of contemporary art discourse since the late 1980s. He is notable for his early application of conceptual artistic strategies involving the critical deployment of pop-cultural imagery toward the aim of exposing and analyzing histories of racism inscribed in US visual culture. Over the course of his career, Simmons has revealed traces of these histories in the fields of sports, cinema, literature, music, architecture, and urbanism while drawing heavily on popular genres such as hip-hop, horror, and science fiction.

This exhibition—the most in-depth presentation of Simmons’s work to date—covers thirty years of highly disciplined production, encompassing sculptures, paintings, works on paper, and installations, as well as a number of large-scale wall drawings the artist will create on- site. The selected works will offer audiences a timely opportunity to gain a holistic understanding of the complex and profoundly moving work of this groundbreaking and influential artist.

Accompanying the exhibition is a fully illustrated catalogue with newly commissioned texts by the exhibition curators and an esteemed group of art historians, writers, curators, artists, and critical thinkers. The exhibition is organized by James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator René Morales, and Assistant Curator Jadine Collingwood, with Curatorial Associate Jack Schneider

Image: Gary Simmons, Hollywood, 2008. Pigment, oil paint, and cold wax on canvas; 84 × 120 in. (213.4 × 304.8 cm). Courtesy Rubell Museum, Miami. © Gary Simmons.