Lorna Simpson // Interview

LORNA SIMPSON: I got a lot of attention very early on and had museum survey shows of maybe ten or fifteen years’ worth of work, but amassing all those pieces as a young artist and then standing back from them made me want to switch up my work. I realized that I’d gone down all these avenues and explored these things in such particular ways to the point that I’d leave the exhibition feeling like it was time to turn over a completely new leaf. That was unexpected. Having had several shows since then has continued to have the same effect. It isn’t out of not liking the work, feeling that it’s dated or old, or because of the period of time that’s elapsed but because it becomes this freer thing where I’m less attached.

All artists have different relationships to their work. But mine is out in the world, I barely hold on to it—I don’t have an emotional attachment to it. It’s something I have to move on from and do other things. At the same time, when I look back at the work I’ve done, it becomes a language for me. There is different visual iconic imagery or things that I can reexamine in different ways. It’s quite multifaceted and beautiful.

- from The Paris Review

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