New York

Gary Simmons, Anger Issues, 2020, oil and cold wax on canvas, 24 1⁄4 × 18 1⁄4".

Gary Simmons, Anger Issues, 2020, oil and cold wax on canvas, 24 1⁄4 × 18 1⁄4".

Gary Simmons

Metro Pictures

Honey’s back for a return engagement in Gary Simmons’s new paintings, this time with her boyfriend, Bosko; both characters hail from the Looney Tunes animated cartoons that captivated audiences in the 1930s. As stereotypical caricatures of black people, Bosko and Honey, who were neither fully human nor entirely animal, starred in more than twenty musical-film shorts as singing, dancing simpletons who were as happy as they were oblivious to the debased racism they emblematized. Directly related to the minstrel stage, they were second only to Porky Pig and Daffy Duck in popularity. Even when scripted to speak in catchphrases of Southern black dialect—or in Congo Jazz (1930), where Bosko appears between a chimp and a gorilla, the faces of all three virtually identical—the characters are portrayed as perpetually happy and innocent. Despite their serial misadventures, the gang lived on-screen

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. Please sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW and save up to 65% off the newsstand price for full online access to this issue and our archive.

Order the PRINT EDITION of the July/August 2020 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.