Fine Art Focus: Lorna Simpson

by Grace Bonney

I first discovered artist Lorna Simpson‘s work in college, when my favorite professor showed me photographs from her “Bio” series of 1992, which examined the female experience. I was so taken by her work and fell in love all over again when I came across her graphite and ink “Head Series” a few years later. There’s both a softness and an edge to her work, and always a strong sense of self and examining the way culture and history affect how we see ourselves in the world. My appreciation for her work made her one of the very first people I reached out to when we started working on our second book. Meeting and talking with Lorna will always be one of my favorite moments of this project and I’m so happy to share more of her work here today. xo, grace

Artist: Lorna Simpson
About: Lorna was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1960. She graduated from SVA with a BA and got her MFA from UC San Diego.
Work: Lorna is incredibly talented across a wide range of media, from film and photography to collage, felt work and drawing. She uses each medium to tell powerful stories about identity, culture, history, race and ethnicity, focusing on the experience of African-American women in America. Lorna has been celebrated at galleries and museums across the globe (including the Museum of Modern Art) and she was given a 20-year retrospective of her work at the Whitney in 2007.
More: You can watch a great interview with Lorna here, read an excellent piece with her in Aperture here and here in BOMB magazine, and find her home website here.

All images above and below are copyright Lorna Simpson. Photographs from Lorna Simpson’s website. Portrait via Aleim Magazine, photograph by George Pitts.


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  • Grace, I have been a reader for a long time and I just wanted to let you know that lately you have been doing such a great job at representing people of color on the blog, something that I missed during its early days. I am really appreciating the increasing inclusiveness! Keep up the great work, and I am looking forward to your book!

  • I have to confess that Lorna is not an artist who I had heard of. However, I have to say that I love her work. It is so striking and extremely beautiful. Thanks for sharing and like Karen above I too am looking forward to your new book.

  • These drawings and collages and photographs are gorgeous.
    Thanks for sharing some of Lorna Simpson’s work.

  • I am such a fan of work her! She used to be my neighbor in a very interesting modern townhouse in Clinton Hill. Next time Fine Art Focus and House Tour combo ;)

  • This head artwork series is so lovely! There are so many artists doing great work who never get recognized. Thank you so much for showing this artist’s work.