The Atlantic

Lorna Simpson Maps the Complex Galaxies of Black Women’s Hair

The artist’s new book of collages incorporates magazine clippings, watercolor, and geological formations.
Source: Chronicle Books

“Black women’s heads of hair are galaxies unto themselves,” poet and professor Elizabeth Alexander writes in her introduction to Lorna Simpson Collages, a new book of that artist’s work. Much of Simpson’s career has been dedicated to documenting the specificity and breadth of black womanhood, and this collection continues in that vein. Black women’s hair, that fraught matter, is not simply the inspiration for this set of collages; it is the subject.

Simpson has long exhumed the ghosts of American history through her presentation of modern subjects, and the collection grants new life to images taken from magazines by layering them with multimedia flourishes and with consumer copy. Simpson’s own artist statement reflects

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