Bachelor of Fine Arts, School Visual Arts, 1988. Master of Fine Arts, California Institute Arts, 1990.
Using icons and stereotypes of American popular culture, he creates works that address personal and collective experiences of race and class. He is best known for his “erasure drawings,” in which he draws in white chalk on slate-painted panels or walls, then smudges them with his hands – a technique that renders their imagery ghostly. Simmons is represented by Metro Pictures Gallery in New York City, and Simon Lee Gallery in London.
Shortly after his graduate studies at CalArts, Simmons found a studio back home at a former vocational school in Manhattan, New New York
His space was empty but for several old-fashioned, wooden, rolling classroom chalkboards, which he began using as canvases in a series of early works about mis-education and conceptions of racial and class identity. Interested in the medium"s ambiguous and impermanent nature, he worked with chalk on boards or on walls painted with chalkboard paint almost exclusively in the 1990s.
In these works, he often borrowed imagery from antique cartoons that depicted black caricatures. In a wall drawing called Wall of Eyes, commissioned for the 1993 Whitney Biennial, the black surface of the board is peppered with bodiless cartoon eyes of different sizes.
Sculpture and installation
Considering himself primarily a sculptor, Simmons early three-dimensional work incorporated powerfully suggestive symbols of oppression including Ku Klux Klan signs, hoods and nooses.
One of his large-scale wall drawings was most recently shown at Metro Pictures Gallery in Midnight Matinee, an exhibition of paintings and drawings which, like the installation Split Personality, depict semi-erased black-on-black drawings of settings from 1970"s horror films. Exhibitions
His paintings, drawings and sculptures have exhibited throughout the United States and internationally at Metro Pictures Gallery, New New York Simon Lee Gallery, London.
Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Los Angeles
Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco. Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
SITE Santa Fe. The Studio Museum in Harlem.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Artist Museum Villa Stuck, Munich, and in private collections including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, District of Columbia.
Portland Art Museum, Oregon. Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri. San Francisco Museum of Modern Artist
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Whitney Museum of American Artist
Museum of Modern Art, New New York
Pérez Art Museum Miami, Miami.