Untitled (Woman Standing on Head)

Laurie Simmons American

Not on view

Like her contemporaries Cindy Sherman and Richard Prince, Simmons came of age in the rapidly expanding media culture of the 1950s: advertising, television, and the movies. The two works on view belong to one of her first series and look back on this period through the prism of dolls posed in miniature "dreamhome" interiors. Located at the intersection between personal and collective memory, these dollhouse images were part of her generation's broader inquiry into the female roles they unconsciously absorbed.
Shortly after graduating from art school in the early 1970s Simmons purchased the toys from a garage sale, not knowing if or how she would use them. For the nascent feminist movement, such "toys for girls" were seen as agents of persuasive indoctrination; Simmons nevertheless also understood the more complex allure of dolls, their atavistic powers. Her first pictures using the toys-these shadowy setups of a "happy homemaker" in a miniature kitchen-are suffused with dread and dark humor, suggesting a late-night emotional crackup.

Untitled (Woman Standing on Head), Laurie Simmons (American, born 1949), Gelatin silver print

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