A new exhibit opened this weekend at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago surveying the work of photographer Laurie Simmons, a historically important member of The Pictures Generation who remains active as a contemporary artist.
The sweeping and comprehensive exhibition of the work of an artist who's often associated with Cindy Sherman, Barbara Kruger, and Louise Lawler takes up most of the third floor and has some Hollywood flair, including Simmons's short three-part musical film "The Music of Regret" starring Meryl Streep and a portrait of Simmons' daughter Lena Dunham, the creator of HBO's "Girls."
First displayed by the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Laurie Simmons: "Big Camera/Little Camera" exhibit charts four decades of Simmons' career and will be on display at the museum at 220 E Chicago Ave through May 5.
MCA Senior Curator Naomi Beckwith coordinated the display of photographs, sculptures, and films that often explore archetypal female gender roles such as women in 1950s domestic settings. The namesake work "Big Camera, Little Camera" juxtaposes a miniature camera with a real one.
"I put the two cameras together for scale, and as a metaphor - real life versus fiction," Simmons said in a press release. "It was also a statement about what I intended to do with the camera."
The New York City- and Connecticut-based photographer uses dolls, lipstick and other props in her work to examine tropes in popular culture like that of the housewife and cowboy. She often deconstructs gender roles, such as with her recent "How We See" series in which makeup artists painted eyes on models' closed eyelids, giving them an artificial appearance some may find unsettling.
"Social media allows us to put our most perfect, desirable, funny and fake selves forward, while naturally raising questions about our longings, yearnings, and vulnerabilities," Simmons said in the press release. "In 'How We See,' I'd like to direct you how to see while also asking you to make eye contact with ten women who can't see you."
Admission to the museum costs $15 for adults and $8 for students, teachers, and seniors.
For more information, visit mcachicago.org.