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. Simpson first became known in the mid-1980s for her large-scale photograph-and-text works that confront and challenge narrow, conventional views of identity, history, and memory. Using the African American woman as a visual point of departure, Simpson examines 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. Most recently, she began a project involving an archive of photographs from the 1950s, which she has been adding to by creating her own replicas of these images, posing herself to mimic the originals. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Miami Art Museum; the Walker Art Center; and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin. She has been the subject of numerous articles, catalogue essays, and a monograph published by Phaidon Press. Simpson's first mid-career survey was exhibited at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Miami Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Kalamazoo Institute of Art, and the Gibbes Museum in South Carolina. More recently she had solo exhibitions at Salon94, New York, in 2008 and at Obadia Galerie, Paris, in 2009.
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