Santa Fe

Gary Simmons

Lannan Foundation

Taking his 1993 series “Erasure” as a point of departure, Gary Simmons created a monumental yet lyrical suite of site-specific wall drawings. The earlier series—30 works that resembled old-fashioned blackboards with partially erased chalk drawings derived from cartoons ranging from the well-known Dumbo to the little known “Bosko” serials—was a means of marking the “violence done to Black people both in the creation of these images and [in] life.” To achieve this effect, Simmons isolated selected cartoon characters and reduced the images until they became indices of visual stereotypes: a frog is all gaping mouth and exaggerated lips framing shiny white teeth; a cannibal, the whites of his eyes enormous, has a bone sticking through his hair. In the current series of wall drawings, the characters are gone and with them the desire to provoke an aggressive, visceral response to the visual

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