Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy - Screen 4

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Image of Screen 4

Lorna Simpson , b. Aug 13, 1960

Screen 4

73 1/2 in. x 60 in. (186.69 cm x 152.4 cm)

Medium and Support: Wooden accordion screen, gelatin silver prints mounted on panels, vinyl letters
Credit Line: Museum purchase
Accession Number: 2000.83
Current Location: Loan


Lorna Simpson’s synthesis of text and image is both subtle and provocative. Like many of her signature works, the Addison’s Screen 4 pairs a partially obscured figure with fragmented and ambiguous text, challenging our expectations of identity and narrative. Cropping the subject, whose face is unseen, Simpson withholds the identity of this African American woman and in doing so makes us sharply aware of how we examine, interpret, and assess others. While the faceless subject appears to be silenced, the artist gives her a voice through the accompanying text. Maintaining anonymity and resisting identification as “other,” the subject, as the text indicates, is “no more exotic than the sparse room she poses in.”

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