Rose B. Simpson: Counterculture now open at the Whitney
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Rose B. Simpson: Counterculture now open at the Whitney
Rose B. Simpson, Counterculture, 2022, at Field Farm, Williamstown, MA. Twelve dyed-concrete and steel sculptures with ceramic and cable adornments. Each sculpture: 128 x 24 x 11 inches. Commissioned by Art & the Landscape, a program of The Trustees, Massachusetts. Courtesy the artist, Jessica Silverman, San Francisco, and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. © Rose B. Simpson. Photograph by Stephanie Zollshan.



NEW YORK, NY.- Rose B. Simpson: Counterculture now open at the Whitney

Rose B. Simpson: Counterculture opened on the fifth-floor terrace of the Whitney Museum of American Art on Saturday, June 3. Simpson is a multidisciplinary artist who works across ceramic, metal, printmaking, painting, and performance, highlighting connections between our contemporary lives and the landscapes we inhabit. The exhibition at the Whitney will showcase five large-scale sculptural figures–including three works recently acquired for the Whitney’s collection–that offer a sage reminder of the ancestral past and natural wonder of the land we occupy. “My goal with this presentation at the Whitney is to remind us that we are not independent,” says Simpson. “The inanimate are watching, and we are responsible not only to the present but to the ancestral spirits that inhabit a particular place.”Simpson titled both the exhibition and the individual works Counterculture as a reference to the importance



Rose B. Simpson, Counterculture, 2022, at Field Farm, Williamstown, MA. Twelve dyed-concrete and steel sculptures with ceramic and cable adornments. Each sculpture: 128 x 24 x 11 inches. Commissioned by Art & the Landscape, a program of The Trustees, Massachusetts. Courtesy the artist, Jessica Silverman, San Francisco, and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. © Rose B. Simpson. Photograph by Stephanie Zollshan.

Rose B. Simpson: Counterculture opened on the fifth-floor terrace of the Whitney Museum of American Art on Saturday, June 3. Simpson is a multidisciplinary artist who works across ceramic, metal, printmaking, painting, and performance, highlighting connections between our contemporary lives and the landscapes we inhabit. The exhibition at the Whitney will showcase five large-scale sculptural figures–including three works recently acquired for the Whitney’s collection–that offer a sage reminder of the ancestral past and natural wonder of the land we occupy.

“My goal with this presentation at the Whitney is to remind us that we are not independent,” says Simpson. “The inanimate are watching, and we are responsible not only to the present but to the ancestral spirits that inhabit a particular place.”

Simpson titled both the exhibition and the individual works Counterculture as a reference to the importance of communities that live separately from dominant cultures but still have significant cultural impact. The watchful figures serve as stand-ins for those that colonization has aimed to silence, including the Lenape people, who inhabited much of present-day Manhattan and the surrounding area until they were forcibly displaced in the seventeenth century. The sculptures are adorned with hand-made jewelry with clay taken from the earth as a nod to the history of place and the natural world. Looking out over the city and the Hudson River, the five figures suggest an awareness of the world beyond our present reality.

In fall 2023, the terrace installation will be accompanied by a billboard on Gansevoort Street, across from the museum’s entrance. In a collaboration between Simpson and the filmmaker Razelle Benally, the photographic image sets a figure against the New Mexico landscape, notably wearing a necklace similar to the ones worn by the figures on the terrace. Presenting the sculptures together with the billboard points to Simpson’s ongoing commitment to working across media while also underscoring her insistent consideration of our relationships to the histories of particular and distinctive locations.

“Simpson is a major artist of her generation that thinks deeply about the relationship between sculpture and place, and it feels extremely meaningful to be presenting her monumental works in this dynamic outdoor location at the Whitney,” says Jane Panetta, Nancy and Fred Poses, Curator and Director of the Collection at the Whitney Museum.

Presented in two phases, Rose B. Simpson: Counterculture will run from June 3 to August 13 and then close briefly before reopening from October 4 to January 21, 2024, with the addition of a billboard installation across from the Museum’s entrance on Gansevoort Street. The works on view at the Whitney were previously part of an installation organized by the Trustees of Reservations in Williamstown, MA.

Rose B. Simpson: Counterculture is organized by Jane Panetta, Nancy and Fred Poses, Curator and Director of the Collection, with Roxanne Smith, Senior Curatorial Assistant.

Rose B. Simpson (b. 1983, lives and works in Santa Clara Pueblo, NM) is a mixed-media artist whose work explores the impact, both emotional and existential, of living in the postmodern and postcolonial world. Growing up in a multigenerational, matrilineal lineage of artists working with clay, her practice is informed by indigenous tradition.

Androgynous clay figures adorned with found and manufactured objects are often at the base of Simpson’s practice. The pieces are ruminations on family, gender, marginality, as well as the effects these aspects have on the understanding of self. While the choice to work in clay is a link to familial relationships, the inherited nature of the material also adds to the concepts being presented. Just as individuals are shaped by memory and experience, objects made of clay become a record of the process that shaped them. The resulting pieces are both powerful and vulnerable and offer intimate records of self-exploration.

Simpson has a BFA from the Institute of American Indian Art, an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design, and an MA in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts. She has had recent solo exhibitions at The Fabric Workshop and Museum (Philadelphia, PA), ICA Boston (Boston, MA), the Wheelwright Museum (Santa Fe, NM), the Nevada Art Museum (Reno, NV), and SCAD Museum of Art (Savannah, GA). Museum collections include the Denver Art Museum, ICA Boston, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Nevada Art Museum, Pomona College Museum of Art, Portland Art Museum, Princeton University Art Museum, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

October 4th, 2023 to January 21st, 2023










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