Laurie Simmons Blonde/Red Dress/Kitchen, from the series Interiors 1978

  • Not on view

Since the mid–1970s Simmons has constructed and photographed dollhouse scenes that reflect on and critique the culture of domesticity. "It's interesting for me that a picture can be so colorful and so bright and so vivacious and so lonely at the same time," she has said. ". . . Where is the rest of the world, where are the other people, where's the rest of the family?" Simmons made these photographs in the loft she shared with her friend and fellow artist Jimmy DeSana.

Gallery label from Looking at Music: Side 2, June 10–November 30, 2009
Additional text

In the mid-1970s, Laurie Simmons began arranging dolls and dollhouse furniture into scenes that she would then photograph. “Setting up small rooms with dolls in them was a way for me to experience photography without taking my camera out to the street,” she explained. “I felt that I could set up my own world right around me, without ever having to leave the studio.”

With a keen eye for color, pattern, and light, Simmons created tableaux that evoke American domestic scenes from the 1950s. Some are devoid of characters. Others, like Blonde/Red Dress/Kitchen, feature a lone female doll who appears to be a housewife in the middle of preparing a meal or fixing a bath, or, as if taking a break from her housework, sitting in the living room with the television or newspaper nearby. These images simultaneously evoke an idealized vision of the 1950s American home and present a critical look at the confining role that women were expected to fill in making this home possible. As Simmons put it, the images are “a generalized memory of something that seemed sweet and terrifying and abstract and whitewashed.”

Silver dye bleach print
3 1/4 × 5" (8.3 × 12.7 cm)
Joel and Anne Ehrenkranz Fund
Object number
© 2024 Laurie Simmons

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