Born in Long Island, New York, 1949; Lives and works in Northwestern Connecticut
I wanted to make pictures that were psychological, political, subversive. Images from my subconscious that could inform. — Laurie Simmons
Laurie Simmons (b. 1949), a central figure of the Pictures Generation, is a photographer and filmmaker who imbues her subjects (primarily dolls, puppets, and other inanimate human-like entities) with living energy, suffusing synthetic spaces with nostalgia colored by an adult’s memories, longing, and regret. Simmons’s work blends psychological, political, and conceptual approaches to artmaking—transforming photography’s propensity to objectify people, especially women, into a sustained critique of the medium. Mining childhood memories and media constructions of gender roles, her photographs are charged with an eerie, dreamlike quality. On first glance, her works often appear whimsical, but there is a disquieting aspect to Simmons’s child’s play, as her characters struggle over identity in an environment in which the value placed on consumption, designer objects, and domestic space is inflated to absurd proportions.
Simmons has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, including Laurie Simmons: Big Camera/Little Camera at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (TX) in 2018, which traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (IL) in 2019; Laurie Simmons: How We See at the Jewish Museum, New York (NY) in 2015; and The Fabulous World of Laurie Simmons at the Neues Museum, Nuremberg (DE) in 2014, among many others. In 2019, Simmons’ photography was included in the Museum of Modern Art’s historic reopening in New York (NY). Other recent group exhibitions include Women House at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C. in 2018; Woman with a Camera at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (IL) in 2017; and the inaugural exhibition of the Whitney Museum of Americans Art’s new building in 2015.
The artist is included in many public collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago (IL); the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge (MA); the International Center of Photography, New York (NY); the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (CA); the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (NY); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (CA); the Museum of Modern Art, New York (NY); the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (NY); and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (NY), among many others.
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