Addison Updates Archive

Lorna Simpson at the Addison

On Sunday, November 9, Lorna Simpson presented an Artist’s Talk on her work and retrospective exhibition at the Addison. Simpson spoke to a packed auditorium about the concerns and themes of her more-than-30-year career, from her earliest documentary photographs to her most recent works. We were fortunate to have Simpson stay on the Andover campus for the evening and following day to spend time with groups of students from Phillips Academy and other area schools.

After her talk, Simpson spent the evening at the home of Linda Carter Griffith, Phillips Academy Dean of Community and Multicultural Development. Simpson joined students and faculty members of the Phillips Academy community including members of the Sisterhood, a program of Community and Multicultural Development; students affiliated with the Brace Center for Gender Studies; and the course African American Literature, for dinner and an open table discussion.

Simpson began the following day visiting with students from a Lawrence High School photography class who had recently completed projects inspired by Simpson’s work. The students had a particular interest in Simpson’s collection of found photographs and spent time in the exhibition galleries discussing the role of photography today versus in the past. She next met with a group of students from an Andover High School photography class who had visited the exhibition earlier in the fall as part of a unit on self-portraits. These students brought in their own photographs to discuss with Simpson, and talked about Simpson’s processes and techniques in creating her photographs.

Later in the day, she joined a Phillips Academy English class, Women’s Studies and Literature, to participate in discussions about how gender, race, class, and other social identities shape experiences in the world, as well as the ways in which artworks challenge our assumptions about these identities and our history. Simpson then spent time with students from the Phillips Academy Advanced Studio Art class, who shared their own self-portrait projects.

To end her day at the Addison, Simpson talked with a group of girls from the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence who had been focusing on issues of identity, gender, stereotypes, and self-expression through conversations and writing about hair. After working on a short writing piece, the girls met with Simpson in the exhibition galleries for a discussion about identity.