new-york

“The Name of the Place”

Casey Kaplan

Laurie Simmons’ photographic scenarios of dolls, dummies, and other miniatures can stand as a kind of iconic template for the moves of a whole generation of artists of the ’80s, but I’m not sure I’ve thought of her work when visiting the shows of certain young artists of the ’90s—Vanessa Beecroft, say, who makes a medium out of model-type women lounging around, or Lisa Yuskavage, who paints way-overinflated babes. Seeing them in “The Name of the Place,” though, which Simmons curated, her work came irresistibly to mind. In fact the show pulled off a neat Freudian trick: if Jocasta rejuvenated herself by wedding her son, Simmons did something similar by linking herself with an extremely current and mostly quite junior group who in this context seemed largely to have sprung from her. Both progenitor (as artist and as curator) and coequal, or even, like a lot of parents, sly competitor (in

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