About the Exhibition
Gary Simmons: Public Enemy is the first comprehensive career survey of the work of multidisciplinary artist Gary Simmons (b. 1964, New York, NY; lives in Los Angeles, CA). The most in-depth presentation of Simmons’s work to date, the exhibition covers thirty years of the artist’s career, encompassing approximately seventy works.
Since the late 1980s Simmons has played a key role in situating questions of race, class, and gender identity at the center of contemporary art discourse. Notable for his early application of conceptual artistic strategies, Simmons exposes and analyzes 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, and architecture and urbanism, while drawing heavily on popular genres such as hip-hop, horror, and science fiction. Guided by an internal logic, his approach is cool, analytical, and unflinching in its interrogation of intense historical narratives, yet the results consistently deliver a strong emotional charge.
In this timely exhibition—accompanied by a major exhibition catalogue and slate of related programs—visitors will gain a holistic understanding of the complex and profoundly moving work of this groundbreaking and influential artist.
Gary Simmons: Public Enemy is curated by René Morales, James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator, and Jadine Collingwood, Assistant Curator, with Jack Schneider, Curatorial Associate, of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
Gary Simmons speaks about the exhibition, his artwork, and more while sitting in his studio in this video made in conjunction with the exhibition.
Produced by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 2023
Lead support is provided by the Harris Family Foundation in memory of Bette and Neison Harris, Zell Family Foundation, Cari and Michael Sacks, Nancy and Steve Crown, Hauser & Wirth, The Joyce Foundation, and Karyn and Bill Silverstein.
Major support is provided by the Bluhm Family Foundation; Ellen-Blair Chube; Jack and Sandra Guthman; Susie L. Karkomi and Marvin Leavitt; Kovler Family Foundation; Liz and Eric Lefkofsky; Gael Neeson, Edlis Neeson Foundation; Carol Prins and John Hart; and the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Generous support is provided by Dr. Anita Blanchard and Martin Nesbitt; Diane Kahan; Cheryl and Eric McKissack; Stephanie and Neil Murray; D. Elizabeth Price and Lou Yecies; the Rennie Collection, Vancouver; Nathaniel Robinson; and Joyce Yaung and Matt Bayer.
This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Major support for Gary Simmons: Public Enemy is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.