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Gordon Hookey: Sacred Nation, Scared Nation

Fort Gansevoort / Online / Art

In 1961, Gordon Hookey was born in Australia’s deep northern outback, a new member of the Waayni people, who had resided in the area for over 17,000 years. Here, Hookey grew up between two worlds—the indigenous and non-indigenous. From this continuing tension springs the large scale, vividly colored paintings that explore—through language and puns, symbols from Waayni mythology, and images from pop culture—the intersections between native and Australian life. Born just three years after Hookey, and nearly 10,000 miles away, the artist Gary Simmons grew up in a rapidly shifting New York City. Simmons’s style is remarkably similar to Hookey’s, relying heavily on language and mainstream references to explore identity. To elaborate on the pair’s artistic echoes, heard from opposite ends of the word, this exhibition places the two in dialogue. Though all art is by Hookey, Simmons’s reaction to and analysis of each piece appears alongside. —C.J.F.

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