Conversation Piece

Step Inside Laurie Simmons's Modernist Dollhouse

Step Inside Laurie Simmons's Modernist Dollhouse
Kaleidoscope House, 2000 by Laurie Simmons

Here’s what you need to know to play with—er, appreciate—Laurie Simmons’s pint-sized palace Kaleidoscope House:

1. Simmons has gone down in art history as of the founding members of the Pictures Generation, the epoch-making group of painters and photographers including Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince, and Barbara Kruger who popularized the use of appropriation as a bona-fide art form in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, to the chagrin of many a skeptical art critic.

2. In Simmons’s case, dolls became her primary muses. Some of her best-known photo series feature the diminutive figures—from plastic dollhouse denizens and ventriloquist dummies to full-scale sex dolls usually intended for less aesthetic activities—each shown in moments of quiet reflection within stereotypically domestic scenes, a subtly barbed take on the roles to which women are often regulated and the ways in which they can transcend them.

3. For this special collaboration, produced by Bozart Toys and designed by Simmons and the architect Peter Wheelwright in 2000, the photographer turns the tables to create a 1:12 scale modernist villa with interchangeable transparent color walls, a nice extension of her voyeuristic eye into the realm of the very toys and spaces that have concerned her for so long.



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