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Gary Simmons (1964-)
Chalkboard paint and chalk on wall
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase, with funds from the Contemporary Painting and Sculpture Committee
Rights and Reproductions Information
© artist or artist’s estate
Gary Simmons’s Ghoster—a roller coaster drawn with chalk on a blackboard-like surface—is ghostly, silent, and still. Like all of the works in this series, which is entitled Erasure Drawings, Ghoster is partially erased, as if in preparation for the next day’s lesson, or as if the image were an expression of a faded memory. The Erasure Drawings were inspired, in part, by the abandoned blackboards Simmons found in an old schoolhouse where he had a studio in the late 1980s. Many of the initial drawings featured racially typecast cartoon characters. “I wanted to show how we can attempt to erase a stereotype, but the image won’t easily go away. It persists,” says Simmons. Many subsequent Erasure Drawings have depicted images of violence or loss—a shipwreck, a vacant throne, and an empty ballroom lit by an ornate chandelier, which close inspection reveals, is made up of spinning nooses.