Gary Simmons' exhibition of new paintings, Night of the Fires, is drawn from the language, imagery, and premise of the 1972 film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. The film addresses racial politics, specifically the 1965 Watts riots. Simmons' deep red paintings depict burning buildings of the futuristic Century City and Downtown L.A. that provided the backdrop of the film. Two black on white wall paintings are dramatically burning quotes from the film. The paintings on paper reference standard advertising signage from the Watts area at the time of the riots and incorporate loaded language from the film.
In this exhibition, Simmons' gestural erasure method of producing his paintings and drawings results in the appearance of the buildings and language engulfed in flames and includes a painting of the famed Hollywood sign, giving nod to Ed Ruscha's iconic painting of the L.A. County Museum of Art burning.
Gary Simmons lives in New York City. He graduated from the School of Visual Arts and received an MA from Cal Arts in Los Angeles. Last year his work was included in MoMA's "Comic Abstraction: Image-Breaking, Image-Making." In 2006 he had a solo exhibition at the Bohen Foundation. A survey exhibition organized by the MCA in Chicago and The Studio Museum of Harlem in 2002 also traveled to Site Santa Fe, New Mexico, where Simmons executed Ghost House, a series of drawings on the walls of an abandoned house on Ruby Ranch. Other one-person exhibitions have been at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C., the Lannan Foundation in Los Angeles, St. Louis Art Museum, and the Kunsthaus Zürich. His work is represented in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Rubell Family Collection, Miami; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Whitney Museum.
Olaf Breuning: 11 October – 8 November 2008
Cindy Sherman: 14 November – 20 December 2008
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