Laurie Simmons is known for her photographs and films using human surrogates like puppets, toys, dolls, and magazine cut-outs, among other props. A brief narrative summary of her photographic bodies of work includes the following: “Early Color Interiors”(1978-79), where vintage dolls resembling housewives are set in 50’s interior decor;“Tourism”(1983-84), where the dolls are found sightseeing at the Eiffel Tower or a casino in Las Vegas; “Talking Objects”(1987-89) and“Walking and Lying Objects”(1987-91), which are portraits of hybrids of dolls’legs topped with the body of an object like a cake, a gun, or a house; and “The Boxes (Ardis Vinklers)”(2005) where dolls are actors set up in mid-performance of a play on a stage.
Simmons has long investigated human performance as it relates to specific environments through a deep documentation and profound choreography of dolls and objects in and on a stage. The boundaries between fiction and reality are often blurred, and the artist’s tableaus are evocative of a sincere humanity, emotion and character. The critic Kate Linker remarked that Simmons is placed in a generation of artists who came out of the mid 70's and approached photography as a conceptual medium. She also points out:“These artists — Richard Prince, Louise Lawler, Barbara Kruger, and Sarah Charlesworth among them — inherited the photo-based conceptual practices of Ed Ruscha, Jan Dibbets, and others and applied the radical new definition of photography as a medium of discourse to the examination of social and cultural representations.” (Kate Linker, Reflections on a Mirror, Laurie Simmons, Walking, Talking, Lying, 2005, p.8 Aperture Foundation). Linker has also stated that“Simmons' work is a deceptively simple response to a complex transformation in American culture centered on the increasing importance of objects.” (op. p.9).
Laurie Simmons was born in Long Island, NY in 1949. She graduated from Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia with B.F.A. in 1971 and lives and works in New York. Her works are collected in major institutions in the U.S. including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art and Walker Art Center, as well as The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, The Israel Museum, The National Museum of Art, Osaka and Hara Museum, and 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa in Japan. She recently had a solo exhibition of her major works including the Love Doll series at Gothenburg Museum of Art in Sweden in 2012. This year she will participate in Venice Biennial with Allan McCollum, showing “Actual Photos” series in 1985. She has extended the scope of the artistic practice to collaborations with fashion brands such as COMME des GARÇONS and Chanel.
Tomio Koyama Gallery
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