KIA Lands Prestigious Lorna Simpson Exhibition

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The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts welcomes the exhibition Lorna Simpson (May 25-August 19, 2007), the first mid-career survey of the artist's work. The exhibition provides a comprehensive examination of the artistic production of one of the leading artists working in the United States today. The KIA is the only Midwest venue for Lorna Simpson.

The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts welcomes the exhibition Lorna Simpson (May 25-August 19), the first mid-career survey of the artist's work. Organized by the American Federation of Arts, the exhibition provides a comprehensive examination of the artistic production of one of the leading artists working in the United States today.

Lorna Simpson became well known in the mid-1980s, confronting and challenging conventional views of gender, identity, culture, history and memory with large-scale photograph and text works. By the mid-90s, Simpson began to concentrate on creating large multi-panel photographs printed on felt that depict the site of public, yet unseen, sexual encounters. More recently, Simpson has turned to creating moving images. In film and video works such as Call Waiting, she features couples engaging in intimate yet incomplete conversations that elude easy interpretation but seem to plumb the mysteries of identity and desire.

In much of Simpson's work, "language is employed like a lever to pry open the lid of the unconscious," said Okwui Enwezor, dean of academic affairs at the San Francisco Art Institute, in his essay in the exhibition catalogue. "The text panels confront the viewer with a fundamental contradiction between the sense of vision and voice as separate forms of knowing."

The exhibition will include a variety of Simpson's acclaimed image and text works (1985-92) and several major photographs on felt (1994-2005). Also included are six film installations (1997-2004), including Call Waiting; Easy to Remember; Interior/Exterior, Full/Empty, a seven-part projection and related series of photographs; and 31, a video calendar in which the artist closely observes a month in the public and private life of an unknown woman.

The exhibition concludes with the artist's recent photographs (2001-03), which consist of a group of ghostly, silhouetted profiles of black women and men accompanied by the titles of paintings, songs and films that date from the 1790s to the 1970s.

Lorna Simpson was born in 1960 in Brooklyn, New York, and received her BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts, New York, and her MFA from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has been exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), the Miami Art Museum and the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis).

The KIA is the only Midwest venue for Lorna Simpson. The exhibition's previous stops have been the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Miami Art Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Its final venue will be the Gibbes Museum of Art (Charleston, SC), in fall 2007.

This exhibition is made possible, in part, by grants from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Peter Norton Family Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., the Martin Bucksbaum Family Foundation, Emily Fisher Landau, and The Barbara Lee Family Foundation Fund at the Boston Foundation.

It is sponsored locally by Stryker, Shore Magazine, the Harold and Grace Upjohn Foundation, and the Monroe-Brown Foundation.

The exhibition is free of charge and open during normal gallery hours at the KIA: Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Media notes: Publicity images are available for download from the American Federation of Arts website (http://www.afaweb.org). Click on "media corner" and "current exhibitions." Use login "afapress" and password "photos." To schedule an interview with the artist, please contact AFA Manager of Communications Keri Murawski at (212) 988-7700, ext. 64 or kmurawski@afaweb.org.

The American Federation of Arts (AFA) is a nonprofit institution that organizes art exhibitions for presentation in museums around the world, publishes exhibition catalogues and develops education programs.

The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, part of the community since 1924, is a non-profit visual arts museum and school. Its mission is to offer to the residents of Kalamazoo County and West Michigan quality visual arts, educational programs and services that encourage the creation and appreciation of art.

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Paul A. Stermer
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