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
2007.25

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.