Lorna Simpson



Lorna Simpson (b. 1960) is an American artist renowned as a pioneer of conceptual photography. Her artwork explores the interplay between historical memory, culture, and African-American identity. Her work frequently confronts the ways in which race and gender shape human interactions and experience. The artist's distinctive style revolves around the use, and frequent combination, of photography and text.

"Reclining Nude" is part of Simpson's series "9 Props," a body of work that prompts viewers to reconsider the conventional boundaries of the portraiture genre. The black and white photograph features a vase with a broad, round base that tapers into a trumpet-like opening. Remarkably Simpson had the 9 vessels specifically fabricated,  to produce the series. Click here to learn more about her practice including this body of work in a recent New York Times article. 

Text below the image details the aesthetic qualities of a portrait by James Van Der See, a prominent figure in the Harlem Renaissance. While the text appears to describe Van Der See's subject, a young Black woman in a sensual pose, the application of this description to the vase creates a unique juxtaposition, serving as a rich inquiry into representation across race, gender, and art. It also raises questions about objectification of the black female body. 

In 2007, Simpson's work was the subject of a major retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York). Fittingly this work can be found in the Whitney Musuem's permanent collection.  Her work is represented in prestigious collections across the globe including the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago); the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), and Haus der Kunst (Munich), amongst others.

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"Van Der See Prop Vase" aka "Reclining Nude" 

USA, 1993

Silkscreen on Rives BFK paper

Signed, dated, and numbered by the artist

Artist's proof (a.p.) outside of an edition of 95

25"H 19.5"W (work)

Very good condition 

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