Lorna Simpson to receive 2018 Medal from School of Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University

SMFA Medal Award Gala honoring conceptual artist, photographer and activist to include silent auction of student artwork benefitting emerging artists, art education

Lorna Simpson

BOSTON (April 30, 2018)—The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University is celebrating conceptual artist and photographer Lorna Simpson by presenting her with the 2018 SMFA Medal Award at a gala event to be held at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in the Shapiro Family Courtyard on May 14. In addition to honoring Simpson, the gala will include a seated dinner and a popular silent auction of student works.

One of the leading artists of her generation, Simpson's groundbreaking interdisciplinary work on gender, identity, social justice and civic practice resonates deeply with the SMFA at Tufts and the Greater Boston community.

This year's award program, beginning at 7:30 p.m., includes a conversation between Simpson and Christina Sharpe, professor of English in the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts.

Lorna Simpson, "Jet Earring" (2018) (Copyright Lorna Simpson; Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth)

This conversation is open to members of the press with prior approval. Members of the media interested in attending should contact Robin Smyton in the Tufts University Public Relations Office at robin.smyton@tufts.edu or 617-627-5392.

Simpson came to prominence in the 1980s through her pioneering approach to conceptual photography. Simpson's striking juxtapositions of text and staged images raised questions about the nature of representation, identity, gender, race and history, concerns that are reflected in the artist's expanding and multi-disciplinary practice today. Simpson is especially known for her striking portrait work of black women, which confront conventional ideas about beauty and identity as they are tied to race and gender.

Simpson's works have been exhibited at and are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Haus der Kunst, Munich, among others. Important international exhibitions have included the Hugo Boss Prize at the Guggenheim Museum, New York; Documenta XI in Kassel, Germany; and the 56th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy.

Established in 1996 on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the SMFA at Tufts Medal has been awarded to noteworthy and influential luminaries of the art world who demonstrate creative excellence and enduring commitment to the arts. Past recipients include James Turrell (2017), Mona Hatoum (2015), John Baldessari (2014) and Sarah Sze (2013).

Patrons at the gala will have the opportunity to bid on student works displayed in the Sharf Visitor Center of the Museum of Fine Arts. The proceeds from the auction are split evenly between the artists and funding for educational opportunities at the SMFA at Tufts. To qualify for the auction, students' work is selected by a jury. The auction is an opportunity to own works of some of the art world's most talented emerging artists, as well as a new piece from Simpson.

All Medal Award Gala proceeds directly support financial aid and educational opportunities for SMFA at Tufts students. The gala is co-chaired by Lorraine Bressler and Judi Ritchie.

To learn more about this event or to support this year's gala, please visit https://smfa.tufts.edu/events-exhibits/calendar/medal-award-gala.


About the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University

The School of the Museum of Fine Arts was established in 1876 as part of the Museum of Fine Arts' mission to educate through the arts. After a more than 70-year relationship with Tufts University, it officially became part of Tufts' School of Arts and Sciences in July 2016. The SMFA at Tufts is extraordinary in being affiliated with a world class museum and part of a major research university. Tufts, located on campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville and Grafton, Massachusetts, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all Tufts campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university's schools is widely encouraged.

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