Culture Lab Detroit and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) were pleased to present a public work by Gary Simmons. The project was made possible with generous support from Bedrock.
For his first public project in Detroit, Simmons created an immersive, environmental installation by wallpapering the the space with self-created musical fly posters that reference specific musical styles, as well as their attendant subcultures and sociopolitical connotations. This work indelibly refers to the guerilla technique of wheat-pasting posters to fences, facades, doorways, and other makeshift surfaces, effectively turning an urban landscape into a medium for cultural dissemination. The aesthetic effect is one of urgency and intervention, and as a result, fly-poster graphics have long been integral to a given musical subculture. By replicating this imagery within the confines of the gallery, altering it in color and composition while allowing the main graphic thrust of the imagery to remain, Simmons presents once-slighted or disenfranchised ephemera as vital contributions to culture at large.
Gary Simmons' installation inaugurated Culture Lab 2016, a two-day series of discussions, dinners, and public projects centering around different approach to walls—architectural or ideological boundaries which both define cultural practice and limit understandings of art, architecture, and other cultural undertakings. The conversations were held September 15 and 16; more information can be found here.
The Detroit project is the latest iteration of an ongoing series. Simmons has installed single walls at the Baldwin Gallery in Aspen and the Simon Lee Gallery in London. Recently, he activated the entire interior of Anthony Meier Fine Arts in San Francisco. Importantly, the Detroit iteration was the largest of the series, and the first to be presented as a public installation. Adding to the site-specific nature of the project, for this iteration Simmons designed 13 posters specifically referencing Detroit music.
Gary Simmons was recently featured in the 56th International Art Exhibition All the World’s Futures curated by Okwui Enwezor and organized by the Venice Biennale. He was also included in the Sharjah Biennale 12 in the United Arab Emirates and Prospect New Orleans 3. Selected public collections include the Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; The Miami Art Museum, Miami, FL; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; The Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Studio Museum Harlem, New York, NY; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.