Screaming into the Ether (Primary Title)
That hopelessness, that feeling of screaming and not being heard . . . it’s a common feeling felt by a lot of folks. That’s the genesis of where Screaming into the Ether came.” –Gary Simmons
Through an erasure process that is central to his painting method, Simmons blurs early 20th-century cartoon illustrations rooted in racist stereotypes, including those by Looney Tunes and Disney. In applying this visual distortion, Simmons evokes the warped misperceptions historically projected onto Black bodies while rejecting early cartoon animators’ stereotypical and denigrated representations of Blackness.
Here, Simmons depicts the Looney Toons character Bosko, a caricature based on American minstrelsy who was presented throughout American theaters in the 1930s and beyond. Simmons animates him as a protagonist in the ongoing narrative of racial and social strife. His ghostly figure lingers like the residue of so many racist characters in our collective imagination and memory.
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