Lorna Simpson


Lorna Simpson no heads
Lorna Simpson Five Day Forcast

I was strolling through the Tate modern and enjoying their collection, taking photos of my favourite pieces of art and I came across the artwork of Lorna Simpson. An artist, born 1960, in Brooklyn New York. Lorna is an African American photographer and multimedia artist.

Her work, being different to the norm, captivates you, as all the figures in her larger work, have no faces.

In the artwork entitled ‘five day forecast’ You’re looking at what appears at first glance to be the same image repeated four times, of a black woman with her arms folded, but all images vary slightly and represent each day of the week, the words used to describe each day are very negative, portraying the constant struggles that an African American woman faces on a daily basis. Very strong, eye catching and thought provoking imagery.




Lorna’s ’20 Questions (A Sampler)’ image, was, again, a very striking, it compels you to stop, take a look and wonder what is its true meaning. I was uncertain of its full meaning until I read the description of the artwork on the Tate Modern site“According to curator Joan Simon, ‘the title of Twenty Questions (A Sampler) refers to the parlour game in which one player thinks of a person, place, or thing, which the other participants try to identify by asking a series of questions’, with Simpson’s work offering a ‘sampler’ of the twenty questions permitted in the game”


Lorna Simpson
Lorna Simpson Twenty Questions (A Sampler)

Curator Beryl Wright commented on this piece “Early works ‘like Twenty Questions (A Sampler) … examined the hidden cultural logic operating in popular word games’ (Beryl J. Wright, ‘Introduction’, in Museum of Contemporary Art 1992, p.8). Each of the questions on the plaques addresses gender judgments, stereotypes and clichés (reinforced through imagery associated with colour), contrasting culturally, linguistically and aesthetically defined associations of black and white”

Tanya Barson a curator believes that Lorna Simpson uses headless and faceless images in order to represent all women globally with the same story and issues her artwork represents.

‘This artwork ‘Photo Booth‘ is a collection of 50 black and white photo booth images depicting black men, taken in the 1940’s. Lorna Simpson has said, “The ’40s, in American culture, were a tough time in terms of life, work, Jim Crow laws, segregation and lynchings. And so the nostalgia of how beautiful these portraits are is one thing, but the context of the era is important with respect to what was endured at the time” 

Photo Booth 2008 by Lorna Simpson born 1960
Lorna Simpson Photo Booth

It’s understandable that Lorna Simpson is a leading artist of her generation, her work speaks out for feminists and women of colour at the same time offering a refreshing and original way to view and appreciate artwork.




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