in other words

Everything you ever wanted to know about the art market but didn't know who to ask

#49 Artist Laurie Simmons “I don’t want to be a second generation anything.”


Art Agency, Partners
#49 Artist Laurie Simmons "I don't want to be a second generation anything."

BY Charlotte Burns
executive editor of In Other Words

“Being an artist was a great excuse for anything you wanted to do that was ‘different’ ”, says the artist, photographer and filmmaker Laurie Simmons, whose work is the subject of a major retrospective survey now closing at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and opening at the MCA in Chicago on February 21.

In this episode, she talks to host Charlotte Burns about everything from internet culture to egalitarian art and the concept of magical thinking. Simmons’s tableaus, which are often created with dolls, explore memory, sexuality and artifice and she discusses what it was (and is) like working in a male-dominated industry.

Click here for the full transcript

Charlotte Burns: Hello and welcome to In Other Words where we cover everything you ever wanted to know about the art world but didn’t know who to ask.

I’m your host, Charlotte Burns, and today I’m joined by the artist Laurie Simmons whose work is the subject of a major retrospective survey entitled “Big Camera Little Camera”, on show now at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in Texas until 27 January.

“Something I take from my own life—and also being surrounded by artists and talking to them all the time—is knowing that sometimes when we embarrass ourselves it’s because we’re uncomfortable with a new place. Maybe that new place is good.” —Laurie Simmons

Before we get into the show, here’s a quick reminder to check out our In Other Words newsletter at And now, on to today’s episode.



Laurie Simmons


Laurie Simmons is an artist, photographer and filmmaker known for her tableau imagery created with dolls and other props. After growing up in Far Rockaway, Queens, Simmons received a BFA from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in 1971. She began taking photographs shortly after moving to New York two years later. In 1984, Simmons received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and in 1997 was the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship.

Simmons has had solo exhibitions at P.S.1 in New York (1979), Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (1987), San Jose Museum of Art in San Jose, California (1990), the Baltimore Museum of Art (1997), and most recently the Modern Art Museum of Forth Worth (2018). She has showed at the Whitney Biennial (1985 and 1991) and the Bienal de São Paulo (1985), among others.

Charlotte Burns

executive editor of In Other Words

Charlotte Burns is the editor of In Other Words, our weekly newsletters and podcasts. She was previously the US news and market editor for The Art Newspaper, as well as a regular correspondent for publications such as the Guardian and Monocle. Previously, she worked with the London dealer Anthony d’Offay on special projects. For several years, she was a consultant at the cultural communications agency, Bolton & Quinn. She also worked at Hauser & Wirth in London.

Burns received a Masters degree (with Merit) from the Courtauld Institute in Art and Cultural Politics in Germany, 1890-1945, as well as a first-class B.A. honors degree in English and History of Art from Birmingham University. She moved to New York in 2010.

For more on Laurie Simmons

Details on her upcoming MCA Chicago retrospective exhibition

“Influenced by Her Children, Laurie Simmons Exits Her Comfort Zone” by Arthur Lubow in The New York Times (2018)

“How the Artist Laurie Simmons Made a Movie in Spite of Everything” by Stephanie Eckardt in magazine (2017)

“Laurie Simmons: Eyes Wide Shut” by Andrew Russeth in ARTnews (2015)

Interview with Sheila Heti in Interview (2014)


The live record

Behind the Scenes with Laurie Simmons and Charlotte Burns

6 Images

You may also like...

Slideshow: Negative Space

By Matthew Thompson

Quarantined Cartoons

By Kaitlin Chan

Art Books and the Covid-19 Crisis

How the industry is adapting

By Christian House