Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Gary Simmons (American, b. 1964)

Star Child, 2003

Oil and slate paint on canvas

84 x 84 in. (213.4 x 213.4 cm)

Gift of William J. Hokin in honor of the MCA’s 40th anniversary

Gary Simmons invented his signature style of monochromatic erasure paintings by marking blackboards from his studio or slate-painted canvases with white chalk or oil paint. In this work Simmons paints loose representations of stars, smearing them to create a symbolic constellation of presence and absence by alternately drawing and erasing his marks. By working with material usually found in a classroom—the blackboard—Simmons critiques popular notions of history in school curricula. This work, based on a wall painting commissioned by the MCA in 1996, communicates the artist’s perception of black invisibility in American culture.