new-york

Lorna Simpson

Josh Baer Gallery

Treading the murky waters between (self)objectification and narcissism, Lorna Simpson offers something like an in absentia presence within the realm of the picture. The camera is there to be stubbornly refused, like the violative gaze of a stranger. Yet it is the artist who has set herself up as that stranger, unwilling to complete the gesture of (self)portraiture, an unwillingness reinforced by the cropped-out face and the overlays of text that seem designed to recode the body under observation. The image/text interplay seems to propose the following admonition: You cannot name me, and therefore you cannot anchor me to a predetermined social or psychological type.

In much of her past work, Simpson seemed to implicate the viewer as the purveyor of a social, cultural, sexual, or racial stereotype of black womanhood, and deployed the work as an instrument of confrontation through which we

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