'Laurie Simmons: Autofiction' artist's recent series of image-based AI works at Salon 94
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'Laurie Simmons: Autofiction' artist's recent series of image-based AI works at Salon 94
Installation view, Autofiction, 2023.

NEW YORK, NY.- Salon 94 in collaboration with YoungArts presents Laurie Simmons: Autofiction, the artist’s recent series of image-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) works. This body of work sees Simmons experimenting with AI text-to-image models, as well as painting, drawing, and embroidery, furthering the artist’s decades-long commitment to picturing women in domestic spaces.

Autofiction offers familiar themes from Simmons’ oeuvre while recognizing her as one of the first artists to seriously embrace AI. Since the 1970s with her radical use of color photography, Simmons has consistently embraced new technologies, eschewing long-held traditions of art-making. Her commitment to experimenting with new tools disrupts gendered preconceptions as they relate to women and technology. As part of her ongoing exploration of new methods for creating images, she began collaborating with the AI platforms DALL-E and Stable Diffusion. She started by inputting brief text chains into the programs that constructed real and imagined scenes from her own life which evoke her earlier work.

Says Simmons, “I started using AI text-to-image models in July 2022. I liked the results and immediately felt the programs were a new kind of collaborator. I was used to inviting in toy makers, makeup artists, body painters, Photoshop, and rephotographed pictures from the Picture Library. The first AI programs were inept when generating hands and faces. I felt the need to correct my collaborator’s mistakes by adding my own embellishment: painting, drawing and sewing.”

After selecting images generated from her AI collaborator, Simmons prints them on silk or linen, and then alters (“corrects”) the images by applying paint, threadwork, and collage, creating three-dimensional works that simultaneously enhance and conceal their AI origins. The latter stage reflects the human drive for symmetry and perfection, whereas the AI tools resist such instincts. Defying binary definitions, Simmons’ latest works offer a spectrum of the artist’s ongoing fascination with in-between states, where faces are doll-like, hands become flippers, and architecture is an illusion.

“Autofiction” is a term used to describe writing that blends aspects of autobiography with fiction, a hybrid of real life and fantasy. As Simmons notes, “My work isn’t specifically about my own story. Rather, it’s a kind of idealized cultural memory of the position of women when I grew up. If you were to read a visual novel made up of every image I’ve ever made, it would unfold like chapters from my own fantastical autobiography.”

Accompanying Autofiction, a five-minute film by Simmons will be presented at Christian Louboutin’s Miami Design District location at 155 North East 40th Street. These works further develop the backstory of the figures featured in the exhibition. The film transports viewers to another realm, immersing viewers in these character studies.

Laurie Simmons

Laurie Simmons is an internationally recognized artist. Since the mid-70s, Simmons has staged scenes for her camera to create images with intensely psychological subtexts and nonlinear narratives. By the early 1980s Simmons was at the forefront of a new generation of artists, predominantly women, whose use of photography began a new dialogue in contemporary art.

Her work is part of the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art and The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; the Hara Museum in Tokyo; and the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art in Amsterdam, among others. In 2018-2019 Simmons’ retrospective Big Camera/Little Camera was presented at The Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. In 2006 she produced and directed her first film, The Music of Regret, starring Meryl Streep, Adam Guettel and the Alvin Ailey Dancers. The film premiered at The Museum of Modern Art. Her feature film MY ART premiered at the 73rd Venice Film Festival and Tribeca Film festival in 2017. Simmons lives and works in New York and Connecticut.

In February 2024, Simmons will participate as a mentor in the YoungArts apprenticeship program.


Established in 1981 by Lin and Ted Arison, YoungArts–the national foundation for the advancement of artists–identifies exceptional young artists, amplifies their potential, and invests in their lifelong creative freedom. YoungArts provides space, funding, mentorship, professional development and community throughout artists’ careers. Entrance into this prestigious organization starts with a highly competitive application for talented artists ages 15-18, or grades 10-12, in the United States that is judged by esteemed discipline-specific panels of artists through a rigorous blind adjudication process.

YoungArts is excited to offer a YoungArts artist a three-month apprenticeship with Simmons beginning February 2024. The selected mentee artist will receive $10,000 and will have the opportunity to travel to either New York City or Simmons’ studio in Connecticut to meet with her in-person. During the apprenticeship, the artist will have the opportunity to share their work, receive feedback and discuss their career goals. The program is supported by Christian Louboutin as part of an ongoing partnership between Simmons and the brand. Artists 18 and over, living anywhere in the US are eligible to apply. All artists working in any medium, including performance, installation, and video are eligible to apply. For information visit youngarts.org.

Salon 94
Laurie Simmons: Autofiction
Opens December 7th

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