three silver gelatin prints, in artist's frames, and two engraved plastic plaques
Overall: 48⅞ by 62½ in. (124.1 by 158.8 cm.)
Executed in 1990, this work is number 2 from the edition of 4.
This work is in very good condition overall. There are no apparent surface scratches or accretions. There is a fine layer of surface dust present throughout, visible upon close inspection. Please note this work has not been examined outside of its frame. Framed in artist's frames under Plexiglas.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.
Josh Baer Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Lorna Simpson’s 2 Tracks interrogates the very nature of historical progress through a complex synthesis of text and image. The repetition of the braid, instead of clarifying, complicates meaning, as it becomes a multivalent symbol. The braid, as a symbol of Black beauty and culture, also suggests – once it is cut off from the human head – both a noose and a whip. The braid thus becomes an equivocal symbol of both violence and beauty. Similarly, the words “BACK TRACK” that punctuate each braid seem to reference whipping (“back”) and perhaps the Fugitive Slave Act (“track”). Working in the early 1990s just before Rodney King and the Los Angeles Riots, Simpson, through her references to the history of slavery, seems to be questioning how much progress has really been made in America. In fact, “BACK TRACK” suggests a historical regression – a failure of progress. However, Simpson embraces ambiguity instead of offering answers. The central figure, who has turned her back on the viewer, is simultaneously defiant and vulnerable, and seems to fluctuate between "backtracking" and true progress. Befitting its importance within the artist's oeuvre, two other examples from this edition of four reside in significant museum collections, with one example at the Whitney Museum of American Art and another at the Denver Art Museum.