New York

Gary Simmons

Metro Pictures

In this exhibition, titled “Night of the Fires,” Gary Simmons evokes a period in which Los Angeles was burning, in the racial, social, and economic fires that culminated in the Watts riots in 1965: a watershed moment that came to emblematize urban strife throughout the nation, and whose reverberations eclipse perhaps even the Rodney King paroxysms of 1992. Simmons stages real history through the looking glass of pop history (and vice versa), having culled the works’ iconography from a lowbrow cultural source: Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, the 1972 sci-fi B movie whose account of enslaved apes revolting against their human masters was immediately understood as a not-too-disguised allegory of race relations. The movie, filmed on location in the modernist corporate environments of LA’s Century City and Downtown, utilized these putatively visionary business centers as backdrops for the

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