Lorna Simpson (American, b.1960) is a photographer and filmmaker who was born in Brooklyn, NY. She began her career as a documentary photographer, traveling through the United States, Europe, and Africa during the late 1970s. Afterwards, Simpson attended the School of Visual Arts, in New York, and received a BFA in Photography in 1982. In 1985, she earned a MFA from the University of California, San Diego.

Simpson is celebrated for her conceptual works, which blend photography with text and video to explore history, gender, identity, fact, fiction, culture, and race in America. In Call Waiting, a 12 minute black-and-white film accompanied by gelatin silver prints and text, she shows various people having conversations in different languages. This work showcases Simpson’s indirect way of engaging the viewer in questions about identity and human interaction.

Simpson often uses images of African-American women in her work, sometimes reappropriating segregation era photographs, as a way to explore gender, culture, and experiences. In her Necklines series, groups of two or three photographs show African-American women with only their necklines showing and text inserted around the images. In 1993, Simpson was the first black American women to be exhibited at the Venice Biennale.

The artist’s works have been exhibited in museums such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. She has had several solo exhibitions at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Miami Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. She is represented by the Salon94 Gallery in New York City. Simpson currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.


Born in Brooklyn, NY
BFA in Photography, School of Visual Arts, New York, NY
MFA in Visual Arts, University of California, San Diego, CA
Artists’ Space Board of Directors, New York, NY
Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, New York, NY
College Art Association
Finalist, Hugo Boss Prize 1998, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, NY
The Whitney Museum of American Art Award sponsored by Cartier and the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art, New York, NY
Distinguished Artist-In-Residence, Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY
Women’s Art: Women’s Vision Honoree, National Women's History Project
Resides in Brooklyn, NY


Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (solo)
Archive Fever: Uses of the Document in Contemporary Art, International Center of Photography, New York City, NY
Mixed Emotions, Apuntes para une coleccion del signlo XXI, DA2 - Domus Artium 2002 Salamanca
Beauty and the Blonde: An Exploration of American Art and Popular Culture, Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Saint Louis, MO
the BIG picture, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC
Lorna Simpson, American Federation of the Arts traveling show, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Miami Art Museum, Miami, FL.; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Gibbes Museum, Charleston, SC (solo)
Lorna Simpson: 31, Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (solo)
Artists Interrogate: Race and Identity, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI
Bodies of Evidence: Work by Women of Color in the Museum’s Collection, The Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island
Collection Remixed, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY
Contemporary Voices: Works from the UBS Collection, MoMA, New York, NY
Double Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art Since 1970, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, Texas
Double Exposure: African Americans Before and Behind the Camera, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut
Transcending Time: Recent Work by Bill Viola and Lorna Simpson, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
Adams and 21 Eves: Women Photographers from the Vault, University Art Museum, California State University, Long Beach, CA
Beginning Here: 101 Ways, School of Visual Arts, NY
Public/Private, Auckland Triennial, Auckland, New Zealand
Lorna Simpson, Walter E. Terhune Gallery, Owens Community College, Toledo, Ohio (solo)
Lorna Simpson: Videos and Photographs, Galerie Obadia, Paris, France (solo)
Lorna Simpson, The College of Wooster Art Museum, Wooster, Ohio (solo)
Lorna Simpson: 31, Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art Northwestern University, Evanston, IL (solo)
Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (solo)
Lorna Simpson, Sean Kelly Gallery, NY (solo)
Lorna Simpson: Corridor, Wohnmaschine, Berlin, Germany (solo)
Lorna Simpson, Consejo Nacional Para la Cultura y las Artes, Mexico City, Mexico (solo)
Lorna Simpson, Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Scenarios: Recent Work by Lorna Simpson, University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI; The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC; and Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Scenarios: Recent Work by Lorna Simpson, Artist in Residence, Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA (solo)
Scenarios: Recent Work by Lorna Simpson, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (solo)
Lorna Simpson, CCA Kitakyushu Project Gallery, Japan (solo)
Call Waiting, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada (solo)
Lorna Simpson, Galeria Javier Lopez, Madrid, Spain (solo)
Lorna Simpson, Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Lorna Simpson: New Work Series, Miami Art Museum, Miami, FL (solo)
Details, Karen McCready Fine Art, New York, NY (solo)
The Body and Deception, Galerie Wohn Maschine, Berlin, Germany (solo)
Lorna Simpson, Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Lorna Simpson, “Wigs,” Albrecht Kemper Museum of Art, St. Joseph, MO (solo)
Standing in the Water, Whitney Museum of American Art at Phillip Morris, NY; The Fabric Workshop, Philadelphia, PA (solo)
Lorna Simpson: New Works, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, IL (solo)
Lorna Simpson, Josh Baer Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Works by Lorna Simpson, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX (solo)
Lorna Simpson, Temple Gallery, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA (solo)
Lorna Simpson, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, IL (solo)
Works by Lorna Simpson, Ansel Adams Center, San Francisco, CA (solo)
Lorna Simpson: For the Sake of the Viewer, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL (solo traveling show)
Lorna Simpson, Josh Baer Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Lorna Simpson: Words and Images, Center Galleries, Center for Creative Studies, College of Art and Design, Institute for Music and Dance, Detroit, MI (solo)
Lorna Simpson, Gallery of the Department of Art & Art History, Dana Arts Center, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY (solo)
Lorna Simpson, Josh Baer Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Lorna Simpson, Center for Exploratory and Perceptual Art, Buffalo, NY (solo)
Lorna Simpson: Projects 23, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (solo)
Lorna Simpson, Centre 38, University Art Museum, CSU Long Beach, CA (solo)
Lorna Simpson: Recent Phototexts,I 1989-90, Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO (solo)
Perspectives 15: Lorna Simpson, Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR (solo)
Lorna Simpson/Matrix 107, Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford, CT (solo)
Lorna Simpson, Josh Baer Gallery, New York, NY (solo)


“April 2006 Preview: Lorna Simpson,” Art in America: Annual Guide, No. 7, August 2005, p. 45
Copeland, Huey, “‘Bye, Bye Black Girl’: Lorna Simpson’s Figurative Retreat,” art journal, Vol. 64, No. 2, Summer 2005, pp. 62-78
Derieux, Florence, “Lorna Simpson,” Flash Art, March-April 2005, pp. 122-123
Hanor, Stephanie, “Collectors XX: Building A Museum Collection,” View, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, April/May/June 2005, p.3
Julian, Betty, “Lorna Simpson,” Images Festival 2005 Guide [Toronto,Canada], pp. 47-49
Lamoureux, Johanne, “From Form to Platform: The Politics of Representation and the Representation of Politics,” art journal,Vol. 64, No. 1, Spring 2005, pp. 65-73
“Lorna Simpson, le noir dans la peau,” Le Figaro Littéraire, Thursday, January 20th, 2005
MacSweeney, Eve, “Golden Year,” Vogue, Vol. 195, No. 4, April 2005, pp. 348-351
Milroy, Sarah, “At The Galleries: Lorna Simpson,” The Globe And Mail, Friday, April 8th, 2005
Nochlin, Linda, et. al. “The New Modern: Itineraries,” Art in America, March 2005, pp. 51-59