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May 25 - August 19, 2007
The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts (KIA) is presenting the exhibition Lorna Simpson (May 25-August 19, 2007), the first mid-career survey of the artist's work. Organized by the American Federation of Arts, the exhibition provides a comprehensive examination of the artistic production of one of the leading artists working in the United States today.
Lorna Simpson became well known in the mid-1980s, confronting and challenging conventional views of gender, identity, culture, history and memory with large-scale photograph and text works. By the mid-90s, Simpson began to concentrate on creating large multi-panel photographs printed on felt that depict the site of public, yet unseen, sexual encounters. More recently, Simpson has turned to creating moving images. In film and video works such as Call Waiting, she features couples engaging in intimate yet incomplete conversations that elude easy interpretation but seem to plumb the mysteries of identity and desire.
In much of Simpson's work, "language is employed like a lever to pry open the lid of the unconscious," said Okwui Enwezor, dean of academic affairs at the San Francisco Art Institute, in his essay in the exhibition catalogue. "The text panels confront the viewer with a fundamental contradiction between the sense of vision and voice as separate forms of knowing."
The exhibition will include a variety of Simpson's acclaimed image and text works (1985-92) and several major photographs on felt (1994-2005). Also included are five film/video installations (1997-2004), including Call Waiting; Easy to Remember; Interior/Exterior, Full/Empty, a seven-part projection and related series of photographs; and 31, a video calendar in which the artist closely observes a month in the public and private life of an unknown woman.
The exhibition concludes with the artist's recent photographs (2001-03), which consist of a group of ghostly, silhouetted profiles of black women and men accompanied by the titles of paintings, songs and films that date from the 1790s to the 1970s.
Lorna Simpson was born in 1960 in Brooklyn, New York, and received her BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts, New York, and her MFA from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has been exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), the Miami Art Museum and the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis).
The KIA is the only Midwest venue for Lorna Simpson. The exhibition's previous stops have been the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Miami Art Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Its final venue will be the Gibbes Museum of Art (Charleston, SC), in fall 2007.
The exhibition is free of charge and open during normal gallery hours at the KIA: Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
This exhibition is made possible, in part, by grants from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Peter Norton Family Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., the Martin Bucksbaum Family Foundation, Emily Fisher Landau, and The Barbara Lee Family Foundation Fund at the Boston Foundation.
In Kalamazoo, it is sponsored by the Richard and Jane Manoogian Foundation, the Monroe-Brown Foundation, the Harold and Grace Upjohn Foundation, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and supported by the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, The CSM Group, JPMorgan Chase, Shore Magazine, Stryker and WOOD-TV.
Published by the American Federation of Arts and Harry N. Abrams, the exhibition catalogue features essays by Okwui Enwezor and Hilton Als, as well as a conversation with Lorna Simpson, Isaac Julien, and Thelma Golden.
(aboce: Lorna Simpson, Waterbearer, 1986, Gelatin
silver print, vinyl lettering, Photograph 45 x 77 x 1 _ inches (framed),
55 x 77 x 1 _ inches overall. Collection Sean and Mary Kelly, New York)
(aboce: Lorna Simpson, She, 1992, 4 Polaroid prints,
1 engraved plastic plaque, 29 x 85 _ inches overall. Collection Jack and
Sandra Guthman, Chicago )
(aboce: Lorna Simpson, Call Waiting, 1997, Gelatin
silver print with silk-screened text, 22 1/2 x 18 1/2 inches (framed).
Collection Scott J. Goldsmith and Jeffrey Silberstein, New York;
Courtesy Sean Kelly Gallery, New York. From the video installation Call
Waiting, 1997. 16mm black-and-white film transferred to DVD. 13 minutes,
11 seconds, sound. Courtesy the artist)
(aboce: Lorna Simpson, Interior/Exterior, Full/Empty,
Gelatin silver print with silk-screened text, 22 1/2 x 18 1/2 inches
(framed), from the video installation Interior/Exterior, Full/Empty,
1997 7 channel DVD projection of 16 mm black-and-white film, 20 minutes,
sound. Commissioned by the Wexner Center for the Arts at the Ohio State
University. Courtesy the artist)
(aboce: Lorna Simpson, Corridor (Phone), 2003
, Digital chromatic print mounted to Plexiglas, 27 x 72 inches. Courtesy
the artist )
(aboce: Lorna Simpson, Cloud, 2005, Serigraph on
9 felt panels, 84 x 84 inches overall. Courtesy the artist )
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