One of the leading American artists of her generation, Lorna Simpson (b. 1960) is well known for her photographic and film works, which often examine racial and gender identity. She believes that art, especially photography, has the ability to change the world for the better. But the issues addressed in her work are not easy ones. Simpson alludes racism, slavery, and other aspects of African-American experience in society. These concerns are not presented in a straightforward or aggressive manner; instead, Simpson uses an approach filled with metaphor, suggestion, and biography.
Photo courtesy of Whitney Museum of American Art
Trained at the School of Visual Arts in New York and then at the University of California, San Diego, Lorna Simpson first became well-known in the mid-1980s for her large-scale photograph-and-text works that confront and challenge narrow, conventional views of gender, identity, culture, history, and memory. With the African American woman as a visual point of departure, Simpson uses the figure to examine the ways in which gender and culture shape the interactions, relationships, and experiences of our lives in contemporary multi-racial America. In the mid-1990s, she began creating large multi-panel photographs printed on felt that depict the sites of public—yet unseen—sexual encounters. More recently, she has turned to moving images—in film and video works such as Call Waiting, Simpson presents couples engaged in intimate and enigmatic yet elliptical conversations that elude easy interpretation but seem to address the mysteries of both identity and desire.
Organized by the American Federation of Arts, this 20-year retrospective features her image and text works, serigraphs on felt, film installations, and a selection of recent work.
After New York, the show will travel to the Kalamazoo Instituteof Arts, Kalamazoo, Michigan (May 25–August 19, 2007); and The Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina (September 7–December 2, 2007)
Whitney Museum of American Art Web Site