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Artist: Lorna Simpson (American, born 1960)

Date: 1991
Medium: Photogravure with screen print on paper
Overall: 73 3/4 × 38in. (187.3 × 96.5cm)
Signed: Lower right (pencil): 36/60 Counting L[ ]; S[ ]/91
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object number: 92.5
Label Text
In Counting Simpson juxtaposes the partial image of a woman-larger than life but anonymous-with that of a small hut and a third image that might be a rope or a braid. Around these pictures she places various measures of counting-minutes and years, quantities of bricks and "twists," "locks" and "braids."

On a visit to Charleston, S.C., Simpson made the photograph of the hut, which was a slave's quarters. With this knowledge, one can begin to contemplate the weight of marking time for people who don't own their lives. Moreover, connotations for the three words at the bottom may be with slavery or may be with plaited hair, a sign of ethnic identification that could be celebrated or misunderstood, depending on one's perspective. Discovering connections between the words and images may take time, but Simpson's juxtapositions allow for rich, layered interpretations.

© Lorna Simpson