Artist Feature: Lorna Simpson
Lorna Simpson is a multimedia artist best known for her black and white images displayed next to expressive and poetic snippets of text and her detailed collages featuring black women with fantastical hairdos. Simpson’s art is ambiguous, leaving space for imagination and deeper consideration.
She delves deeply into identity, bodies, race, and stereotypes, often removing the identifying features from her figures to make them universal. She also works with video and sound, often playing with motifs of time, duration, memory, and trauma.
Simpson was raised in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, by an art-loving family who often took her to see the wide variety of art and performance that NYC had to offer. As a young woman, Simpson traveled around the world, developing her interest in photography and refining her process. It was during her MFA at UC San Diego that she first began working in her distinctive photo-text style, which she used to deepen the conceptual aspect of her photography. She was the first black woman to have a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and has since exhibited around the world.
Lorna Simpson’s photo work frequently references histories of American racism and sexism towards black women. Through her use of the anonymous black female form, she creates a conceptual space to explore the contemporary identity of black women in America, using the posed and constructed space of her images to exorcise, flesh out, and play with these lingering prejudices and stereotypes.
Simpson also addresses issues of race and sexuality head-on, discussing the way that black women are simultaneously fetishized and disposed of sexually.
Lorna Simpson | Art by Kat Sampson
“There are many different ways to interrogate or locate a subject. One should take into account the lens by which we think of the idea of a subject.”
Simpson’s career has been a critical trailblazer for intersectional feminism in the art world, that is, art that explores the intersection of race, class, and gender identity.
In collaboration with Kat Sampson, we present The Not Just Dead White Guys coloring book with 24 vibrant portraits, showcasing diverse artists, both deceased and living. Half are contemporary artists, including Lorna Simpson who are shaping the art scene today, while the others are important historical figures. Join us to celebrate their diverse contributions and create a more inclusive art world!
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