Picture Perfect: Laurie Simmons, Photographs 1976–78
Laurie Simmons has explored the theme of the figure in domestic space for more than 30 years, beginning with this seminal body of black-and-white photographs. In them, she recreates a mythic 1950s suburbia in makeshift scenarios involving a solitary female figurine. The resulting photographs, mixing equal doses of longing and regret, are by turns funny, disturbing, tender, and ultimately moving in their exposure of both the banal truths and dark secrets beneath the picture-perfect veneer of domestic life. Sharing an artistic lineage that Simmons traces to the set-up photographs of Man Ray and Wols, the studio work of Paul Outerbridge, and the art of closer contemporaries like John Baldessari and Jan Groover, these early works—as vital today as when Simmons first created them in the 1970s—paved the way for an entire generation of artists concerned with staged photography, personal narrative, and conceptual approaches to the making of art.
This exhibition has been made possible by the continuing generosity of Miriam and Ira D. Wallach.