11 April - 11 July 1999

Brooklyn-based artist Lorna Simpson has been well known since the mid-1980s for her provocative photographic works that address issues ranging from racial and sexual identity to notions of the body to interpersonal communication and relationships. Her works often pair isolated details of the human figure or objects with fragments of text. Minimal in nature, Simpson's works invite the viewer's own experience as a means of interpreting the image and language. In Scenarios: Recent Work by Lorna Simpson, the artist continues her exploration of these themes, but incorporates a new medium: narrative film.

The exhibition features three black-and-white film installations, including the Walker-commissioned Recollection (1998), which Simpson created as artist-in-residence at the museum during 1997-1998. The work was filmed on location at various landmarks in the Twin Cities with local artists and actors. First screened as part of the Hugo Boss Prize: 1998 at the Guggenheim Soho in New York, Recollection focuses on the characters' use of fragmented narrative memories to reconstruct past events. Simpson's short black-and-white single-projection work, Call Waiting (1997), focuses on communication, presenting characters whose lives are woven together through a series of telephone conversations and interrupted calls. As part of a 1996 residency at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, Simpson made Interior/Exterior, Full/Empty, a seven-projection film piece screened simultaneously on three walls. Each projection reveals differing narratives delivered by characters who move in and out of what may or may not be an interlinking story.

All three film installations are accompanied by black-and-white photographs coupled with text, which Simpson made during the shooting of her films. The exhibition also includes large-scale photographic works printed on felt, a medium the artist has increasingly employed in her work, which relate to the films. Simpson's Wigs (portfolio) (1994), an installation of 21 lithographs printed on felt, is among visitors' favorite works in the Walker's exhibition Selections from the Permanent Collection. This work can be viewed in Gallery 6.

Scenarios: Recent Work by Lorna Simpson is made possible by generous support from the Arthur and Alice Kramer Foundation.

Lorna Simpson’s 1997-1998 artist residency was part of the walker art center's "New Definitions/New Audiences" Initiative, a museum-wide project to engage visitors in a reexamination of 20th-century art, made possible by the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund. The film recollection was commissioned by the Walker Art Center through the artist-in-residence program, with additional support from the Penny McCall foundation, New York.

Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403
info [at] walkerart [dot] org

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Lorna Simpson is an UC San Diego Department of Visual Arts MFA Alumna. For more about her work, please visit:

Image Credit:
Lorna Simpson, Interior/Exterior, Full/Empty #12, 1997.
Image is courtesy of Artist Lorna Simpson and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

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