Laurie Simmons - Photographs London Wednesday, November 1, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Thomas Ammann Fine Arts, Zurich
    Private Collection, USA
    Phillips de Pury & Company, New York, Contemporary Art Part II, 17 November 2006, lot 388
    Phillips de Pury & Company, New York, Contemporary Art Part II, 14 November 2008, lot 300

  • Exhibited

    Louise Lawler, Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons - Katseen kääntäjät/Re-turning the gaze, Kunsternes Hus, Oslo, Norway, 30 January - 7 March 1993; Nykytaiteen Museo, Helsinki, Finland, 26 March - 9 May 1993
    For this lot
    A Forest of Signs: Art in the Crisis of Representation, The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Los Angeles, 7 May 1989 - 13 August 1989
    For another

  • Literature

    Louise Lawler, Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons: Katseen kääntäjät/Re-turning the gaze, Helsinki: Nykytaiteen Museo, 1993, p. 23
    Laurie Simmons: The Music of Regret, Baltimore: Baltimore Museum of Art, 1997, p. 102

  • Catalogue Essay

    This oversized black-and-white photograph of a gigantic alligator skin purse with legs is undeniably Laurie Simmons. Walking Purse, 1988, created for her seminal series Walking and Lying Objects (1987-91), is one of only two instances where the object is worn by a real person. While this was her original intent for the series, she turned to using doll and mannequin legs out of necessity for the photographs that followed. The pair of legs we see here belong to her sister Bonnie who wore this human-size purse costume.

    In the case of Walking Purse, Simmons has chosen an object that is a trope of femininity, drawing our attention to the signified role of women. An alligator skin purse references not only the cost of being a woman but also the influence of advertising and consumerism. Stereotypes of a woman and her handbag also come to mind: how she never leaves the house without it and how men find mystique in what she carries inside it. Inspired by an image of a cookie or cracker box on a pair of woman’s legs that she saw while visiting the ventriloquist Doug Skinner, and an early television commercial of dancing cigarette packages, Simmons’ series of ‘woman-as-object’ – a purse, a camera, an apple, a house, a gun – questions gender roles and stereotypes in American culture.

    Simmons, along with Cindy Sherman, Louise Lawler and Richard Prince, among others, is part of a group of artists known as the ‘Pictures Generation’. Influenced by the theories of Jean Baudrillard, Roland Barthes and Laura Mulvey, they used appropriated imagery to reveal underlying social constructions. Simmons has exhibited internationally, including the Walker Art Centre, Whitney Biennial and Gothenburg Museum of Art. Her work is found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

  • Artist Biography

    Laurie Simmons

    American • 1949

    Laurie Simmons is an American photographer and filmmaker. Known for her curated domestic scenes using dolls and miniature objects, Simmons questions the truth behind photographic realism and the stereotypes of American culture. In her critically acclaimed series Walking Objects, Simmons offers commentary on how women are represented in popular media through a memorably surreal image. The artist emerged in the 1980s as a prominent member of the 'Pictures Generation' alongside Cindy Sherman and Louise Lawler. Today, Simmons' work is found in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others.

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Walking Purse

Gelatin silver print, face-mounted to Plexiglas.
Image/Sheet: 213.4 x 121.9 cm (84 x 48 in.)
Frame: 226.1 x 134.6 cm (89 x 53 in.)

Signed, titled and dated in pencil on the verso.

This work is number 5 from the sold-out edition of 5 + 2 AP. This image exists only in this size and edition.

£30,000 - 40,000 

Sold for £52,500

Contact Specialist
Genevieve Janvrin
Co-Head of Photographs, Europe
+44 20 7901 7996

Yuka Yamaji
Co-Head of Photographs, Europe
+44 20 7318 4098


London Auction 2 November 2017