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Laurie Simmons: Walking, Talking, Lying

Hardcover: 156 pages
100 four-color images
Publisher: Aperture; illustrated edition edition (October 15, 2005)
Language: English

Laurie Simmons is one of the first contemporary American photographers to have created elaborately staged narrative photographs. Using dolls to act out piquant scenarios within specially constructed environments, she has slyly commented on contemporary culture while re-creating “a sense of the 50s that I knew was both beautiful and lethal.” Prodigiously creative, she has produced fourteen fully developed series since the 1970s.

In Laurie Simmons: Walking, Talking, Lying, Kate Linker concentrates on selected series—from “Ventriloquism,” “Walking Objects,” and “Lying Objects” to the 1997 Self-Portraits and the “Café of the Inner Mind”—to illuminate ideas that cut through the artist’s entire body of work. Of particular interest are the willfully ambiguous interplay between objects, figures, and backgrounds, and the way specific things (toys, cakes, guns) and settings (suburban interiors, theatrical stages) take on strange powers in Simmons’s photographs. As Linker makes clear, the artist’s use of narrative links her to a number of contemporary fiction writers, while her fondness for artifice, advertising, childhood memory, and unabashed eclecticism relates to—and has helped shape—the heated debates of the past thirty-some years about the nature of photography.

Laurie Simmons: Walking, Talking, Lying was made possible with generous support from Melva Bucksbaum and Raymond Learsy and from the E. T. Harmax Foundation.

Laurie Simmons was born on Long Island and earned a B.F.A. from Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia. Her photographs have appeared in group and solo shows throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia, and she is represented in numerous private and public collections, from Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Hara Museum in Tokyo. Her most recent books include In and Around the House, Photographs 1976–78 (2003) and Laurie Simmons: Walking, Talking, Lying (2005), Simmons lives and works in Manhattan. She is represented by Sperone Westwater, New York.


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