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Lorna Simpson is a photographer and multimedia artist who has been working for more than 30 years. She has had exhibits at Denver Art Museum, the Portland Art Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and her art is truly stunning. She is currently working and residing in New York City. “The images she puts into the world are consistent proof of art’s ability to deal with loaded questions involving race, gender, identity, sex, and other social and political dilemmas,” writes Dodie Kazanjian in Vogue.

In a new book Lorna Simpson CollagesSimpson takes on the complexity of black hair. The images in the book began as photographs of black women and men that were originally printed in vintages issues of Ebony and Jet magazines. “Black women’s hair are galaxies unto themselves, solar systems, moonscapes, volcanic interiors,” writes Elizabeth Alexander, the award-winning writer, poet, scholar, and arts advocate, in the introduction.


The book lets you grapple with spender, complexity, discomfort that you might experience from the juxtaposition of photorealistic faces and abstract ink washes, geological formations, and other unexpected interpretations of black hair. In Simpson's artist statement, a poem made from phrases used in advertisements, we find the quote “A beautiful head of hair is never an accident,” and Simpson powerfully showcases that sentiment.  Below we have a sample of images that can be found in the full book.

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JetProblem LSimpson 2012 f11aa

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Images from Lorna Simpson Collagespublished by Chronicle Books 2018

Published June 11, 2018

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Byshera Williams is an English Major at Drexel University. She is an associate editor at The Smart Set

Tags: Lorna Simpson , art , book , hair

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