Artist Lorna Simpson has been using found images since 2010, when she came upon her grandmother’s Ebony and Jet magazines from the 1950s to the 1970s. A selection of magazines from the artist’s collection, a primary source material for her 2018 London exhibition ‘Unanswerable’, is presented here.
Founded in 1945 and 1951 respectively by John H. Johnson in Chicago, Ebony (which is still published monthly) and Jet (now a digital magazine) celebrated African-American life and culture, honouring black identity by portraying daily life, refuting stereotypes, and inspiring readers to overcome barriers to success. Jet is particularly notable for its role in chronicling the Civil Rights Movement from its earliest years, while Ebony, for its part, ran a column from Dr. Martin Luther King called ‘Advice for Living By’.
The material has both a personal and a wider cultural significance for Simpson who describes how the magazines, ‘informed my sense of thinking about being black in America and are both a reminder of my childhood and a lens through which to see the past fifty years of history.’
About Book Lab
The Hauser & Wirth Book Lab is a project devoted to exploring the important place that books and prints occupy in the practice of artists. Building upon Hauser & Wirth’s curatorial and publishing activities, the Lab presents thematic installations, displays, and programming that invite reflection, creative thinking, and further conversation about the world of printed matter and its connection to artists’ ideas and objectives.
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About the Artist
Born in Brooklyn, Lorna Simpson came to prominence in the 1980s with her pioneering approach to conceptual photography. Simpson’s early work—particularly her striking juxtapositions of text and staged images—raised questions about the nature of representation, identity, gender, race and history that continue to drive the artist’s…