Photo by: Tito Molina
Photo by: Tito Molina

Gary Simmons Joins Board of Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts

Los Angeles, CA (date) — The Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts announced today the appointment of artist Gary Simmons to its Board of Directors. He joins Chair John C. Welchman and members Stephanie Barron, Catherine Opie, Claire Peeps, Edward Rada, and Joan Weinstein.  

“We are very excited to welcome Gary to the board of the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts,” said Welchman. “His creatively critical work and thinking and engagement with art communities on both coasts will greatly benefit the mission of the Foundation to support bold, adventurous and risk-taking work and to bring these values into innovative programs and other outcomes as we build on Kelley’s remarkable legacy.”

Simmons uses icons and stereotypes of American popular culture to create works that address personal and collective experiences of race and class. He has exhibited extensively throughout the United States and his work in is the permanent collections of numerous museums including the Miami Art Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Museum of Modern Art, New York.  Simmons's work is currently featured in exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. His monumental installation, Fade to Black, featuring his signature erasure technique, rcently closed at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles.

Simmons received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 1988, and his MFA from CalArts in 1990. Shortly thereafter he was awarded both the National Endowment for the Arts Interarts Grant and the Penny McCall Foundation Grant. His work was included in the 2015 Venice Biennale and the most recent iteration of Desert X.  

“I’m thrilled to be joining the board of the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts as I am deeply committed to its mission of supporting experimental and challenging work,” said Simmons. “I admire Mike Kelley as an artist and am looking forward to working with the Foundation’s board and staff to honor his legacy.”  

“I have been impressed for many years with the power, complexity and breadth of Gary’s body of work,” said Mary Clare Stevens, Executive Director of the Foundation. “As an artist- centered foundation, Gary's knowledge and perspective is invaluable. We look forward to his insight and counsel.”  

About the Foundation

Founded in 2007 by artist Mike Kelley, the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts supports artists and arts organizations committed to developing compelling practices and programs—including experimental projects, lesser-known artists, and daring content across a wide range of disciplines. Led by Stevens, the organization furthers Kelley’s philanthropic work through the Artists Projects Grants, an initiative launched in 2015 that supports the creation of vital and often difficult-to-produce work. Since the program’s inception almost five years ago, the Foundation has funded thirty-six projects, including exhibitions requiring extensive research such as Regeneración: Three Generations of Revolutionary Ideology at the Vincent Price Art Museum, which explored the transnational exchange and circulation of revolutionary and activist ideas across generations and between the U.S. and Mexico; JOAN’s series of performances; and the forthcoming PRAXIS: Lauren Halsey at the University Art Museum, California State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH). The Foundation also preserves Kelley’s legacy more broadly and advances the understanding of his life and creative achievements through exhibitions, loans from its collections, and by providing information and resources to scholars, curators, students and the public.