Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago planning major Gary Simmons exhibit

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is planning a major exhibit of artist Gary Simmons’ work.

James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator René Morales and assistant curator Jadine Collingwood curated Gary Simmons: Public Enemy. It will be on view from June 10 through Oct. 1 in the Griffin Galleries of Contemporary Art at the museum at 220 E Chicago Ave in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood on the Near North Side.

“Gary Simmons is a foundational artist whose work we welcomed into our space over 20 years ago,” said Pritzker Director Madeleine Grynsztejn. “Gary Simmons: Public Enemy is a continuation of our relationship with this artist and his ever-relevant work. Gary’s art prompts powerful reflections on the social, cultural, and historical contexts in which we live, underscoring the MCA’s dedication, compelling experiences and conversations inspired by contemporary art.”

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The exhibit offers a comprehensive look at his artistic career, displaying about 70 of his pieces. His art is known for exploring racism in American visual culture.

It’s influenced by hip-hop, sports, vintage cartoons, cult horror movies and science fiction.

“Simmons asks probing questions about collective memory,” said Alsdorf Chief Curator René Morales. “How is our shared past remembered, and what is at stake? Which histories have we been taught to forget and why? His work does not provide easy answers to these questions, but it shows us where we might begin to look, setting us up for a powerful emotional charge as it inevitably leads us back to ourselves.”

The exhibition will feature works like “Step Into the Arena (The Essentialist Trap)” “Lineup” and “Marnie’s Nightmare:

“Collaborating with the MCA Chicago to realize this exhibition feels like a homecoming, given the museum’s long-standing support and vision,” Gary Simmons said. “It’s an honor to work with them to share 30-years of work in the great City of Chicago.”

It will also feature the sculptural installation “Recapturing Memories of the Black Ark that’s built from materials found in the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

“Simmons emerged in the politically charged climate of the ’80s and ’90s, part of a generation of American artists who challenged the status quo by making work that confronted racial identity, cultural stereotypes and the politics of representation,” Assistant Curator Jadine Collingwood said . “This exhibition affords an opportunity to reflect on the specificity of that watershed moment in American art history, while also considering how these issues continue to resonate in the present.”

The major fourth-floor exhibition will be presented in both English and Spanish.

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