Lorna Simpson (American, born 1960)
2 dye diffusion color Polaroid prints, engraved on Plexiglas
49 1/2 x 20 1/2 in. (125.73 x 52.07 cm)
Collection of Alvin Hall. © Lorna Simpson. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Lorna Simpson’s photographs often contain models whose faces are cropped out, resisting the easy categorization of her work as portraiture. Rather than using likeness as a prop, the works require active participation from the viewer to question and construct meaning using the obscured images and what little text she provides. In H.S. one is left to interrogate the relationship between the yearbook and the words ‘subjugation’ and ‘indoctrination’ superimposed on the image. Is Simpson reflecting on her own experiences attending the High School of Art and Design in New York City? Or is it a critique of the homogenizing effects of the educational system in the United States? Critics have celebrated Simpson’s work for offering complex views of the female and raced body while creating counternarratives to existing stereotypes.