Lorna Simpson - PHOTOGRAPHS New York Friday, October 8, 2010 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist

  • Exhibited

    The Photographic and Film/Video Art of Lorna Simpson, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 16 April- 10 July 2006; Miami Art Museum, Miami, 5 October 2006- 4 February 2007; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1 March- 6 May 2007; The Gibbs Museum of Art, Charleston, 7 September- 2 December 2007, for all, another example exhibited

  • Catalogue Essay

    Lorna Simpson’s work is consistently imbued with ambiguity, harmoniously evoking two seemingly contradicting viewpoints that engender feelings of discomfort as much as safety. Neither premise, viewers normally conclude, is veritable, as Simpson’s intention is to challenge and deconstruct, producing images that are far more axiomatic in nature than they are conclusive, needless to say didactic. Unsurprisingly, her modus operandi is the perfect vehicle for the polemical subject matter that she tackles, race and gender. Cloud, 2005, presents viewers with an enigmatic scenario in which an ethereal, white cloud surrealistically floats amidst what appears to be a confined space, casting no shadow on the spotlight beneath it. It is difficult to resist schematic associations with Genesis, as the heavenly glow of the cloud creates the illusion that its appearance, if not magical, is by the hand of a higher, invisible source.
    Reading of the image is further complicated when the work is understood in relation to Simpson’s 3-minute performance, Cloudscape, 2004, in which an African American performer dressed in black stands with his eyes closed, whistling a melody, as a cloud slowly emerges above his shoulder. The cloud soon thickens in consistency, all but swallowing the whistling man in his entirety. At the zenith of the performance half-way through, the cloud begins retreating in the reverse pattern, ultimately shrinking to the plume of mist from which it originated. The whistling, nonetheless, continues and remains unaffected by the visual metamorphosis. The temporary consumption of the black figure by the white cloud but his perseverance through whistling could be read as a critical analogy on race relations. Sound, it should be noted, just like mist, is intangible, and in this context unexpectedly provides an equal resistance to the mist’s all-engulfing visual effect. Therefore, Cloud could stand as a metaphor for a creationist magic as much as ominous force, at once mesmerizing in its beauty and foreboding in its might.
    The exhibition at the Whitney Musuem of American Art was organized by the American Federation of Arts, curated by AFA Adjunct Curator Elaine Posner and the New York installation was organized by Shamim Momin, associate curator of the Whitney Museum of American Art. The exhibition premiered at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles where it was on view, travelling then to the Whitney, the Miami Art Museum and concluded at the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston.



Nine serigraph prints on felt, flush-mounted to board.
Each 28 x 28 in. (71.1 x 71.1 cm).
Number 2 from an edition of 3 plus 2 artist's proofs. Accompanied by a signed Certificate of Authenticity.

$35,000 - 45,000 


8 October 2010
New York