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  • Catalogue Essay

    Lorna Simpson became well known in the mid 1980s for her photograph-and-text pieces that challenged our complacent acceptance of the cultural construction of identity. In Untitled, 1990, Simpson confronts the set of connotations evoked by the image of a wig worn by African-American women. Five Polaroids are juxtaposed with common phrases that would normally start with “You know it….” The remaining plaque, “by the skin of your teeth”, presents the idiom that originated in the Old Testament book of Job and the title character’s narrow escape from total ruin.

    Text Plaques:
    by the skin of your teeth
    in your bones
    by heart
    like the back of your hand
    in your gut
    word for word



Seven Polaroid prints and six plastic text plaques.
Top row 17 x 17 in. (43.2 x 43.2 cm) each; bottom row 9 1/4 x 15 in. (23.5 x 38.1 cm) each.
34 x 102 in. (86.4 x 259.1 cm) overall.

Each print with printed title, date and number on a gallery label affixed to the reverse of the frame. Number 1 from an edition of 3.

$20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for $25,000

Contact Specialist
Vanessa Kramer Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs
[email protected]
+ 1 212 940 1245


4 April 2012
New York