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Lorna Simpson
B. 1960, New York. Lives and works in New York.

From Heidi Zuckerman, Nancy and Bob Magoon CEO and Director, Aspen Art Museum:

Lorna Simpson is, without classification, one of the most outstanding humans I have ever encountered. Her extraordinary, early success led me to study her work while I was still an undergraduate (even though she’s not substantially older than I am). So I knew of her practice long before I had the honor of meeting her—and I admit to being intimidated at first! When I joined Simpson in Paris for the opening of her solo show at the Jeu de Paume in 2013, we spent time shopping for clothes and shoes. Our friendship broadened—as did my admiration for her ability to be “both/and,” instead of “either/or.”
In 2012, I invited Simpson to do a residency in Aspen. She made an entirely new body of work and an exhibition (which went on view in 2013) that focused on works on paper that, though essential to her practice, were distinctive and discrete. The “Photo Collage” series (2013–18) and the “Ebony” collage series (2013) explored the complex relationship between photographic archives and processes of self-fashioning. As in Simpson’s earlier works, these new drawings and collages took the African American woman as a point of departure. They continued her long-standing examination of the ways that gender and culture shape experience in our contemporary multiracial society.
In Aspen, we not only hung out together, but also made an extraordinary book. Time to think, be, talk, listen, and be heard and seen is the greatest gift. Simpson and I have encountered similar challenges—professional and personal—and I cannot overstate my gratitude for her continuously inspiring grace.
Henry Taylor
B. 1958, Ventura, California. Lives and works in Los Angeles.

From Tiana Webb Evans, Writer and Founder, ESP Group:

Henry Taylor makes radically human figurative paintings. He’s the whip-smart uncle who has been around the block and seen a few things. He is the embodiment of the African American male experience stretched through a time where the rugged seas of shifting thoughts, ideologies, and realities deposit those who make it to shore with sage-like wisdom. The stories Taylor paints oscillate between glimpses of the mundane and transient moments of our humanity. He shows us both our liberation dreams and what impedes them. The sheer act of painting—choosing to be a painter—is a revolutionary act and represents an unwavering belief in franchisement and a better America.
When Taylor was included in the 2017 Whitney Biennial, it felt like the whole (metaphorical) family showed up at the museum on opening day—activists, intellectuals, musicians, artists, mechanics, nurses, cleaning ladies, doctors, lawyers, and the cousin trying to figure it out—all represented with swift and hopeful brushstrokes. A Happy Day for Us (2017)loomed lovingly on the foreboding museum wall.Taylor paints the poetics of an existence that’s both dynamic and familiar. He provides a grounded response to the angsty fade of the forgone Disney fairytale that America is just and equal. Herein lies the lasting power of his work.

African American Art 95.jpg

African American Art 96.jpg

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