Gary Simmons: The Engine Room

Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, United States
03 Apr 2021 - 22 Aug 2021

Gary Simmons, B Sides (detail), 2021. Chalk paint, cold wax, and oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.

Gary Simmons, B Sides (detail), 2021. Chalk paint, cold wax, and oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.

The work of Gary Simmons (b. 1964, New York, NY) explores racial, social, and cultural politics, interrogating the ways in which we attempt to reconstruct the past via personal and collective memory. Simmons’s practice has evolved over the past three decades to incorporate painting, sculpture, installation, and interactive architectural environments. Music and music history has figured prominently, all refracted through the lens of racial identity and representation. His work is occupied by the unfixed nature of a past that remains open to the vagaries of memory, and its role in the construction of the character of contemporary America—in particular through pop cultural imagery: sports, music, film, cartoons.

For this commissioned exhibition at the Henry, the artist created a large-scale wall drawing, a suite of new paintings and sculptures, and a sculptural installation, drawing together disparate components to create space for new interaction and invention. The installation will function as an interactive space, riffing off traditional American suburban garage architecture and referencing the garage as a site for invention, creativity, and experimentation, particularly for music/bands. As both a private laboratory and a public stage, the garage sculpture will be activated by a series of musician residencies, drawing on unique areas of the Seattle music scene, both historical and present, and tapping into the lesser-known, yet equally influential, genres and practices.

A brochure with a curatorial essay, alongside installation images, will accompany the exhibition.




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