how we see The Jewish Museum

Photographs from the exhibition Laurie Simmons: How We See at The Jewish Museum.

In mid-March the Jewish Museum in New York City presented a new exhibition titled Laurie Simmons: How We See, a series of haunting portraits. Laurie Simmons is a New York-based artist and mother to Girls creator Lena Dunham. In this exhibition, she presents photographs of models who have huge, sparkling eyes painted on their closed eyelids. The result is vibrant, eerie, and deeply compelling.

Explains the Jewish Museum, “In How We See, Laurie Simmons draws on the ‘Doll Girls’ subculture of people who alter themselves with makeup, dress, and even cosmetic surgery to look like Barbie, baby dolls, and anime characters. Evoking the tradition of the high-school portrait – when teenagers present their idealized selves to the camera – Simmons photographed fashion models seated in front of a curtain, cropped from the shoulders down.”

Laurie Simmons the Jewish Museum

Famous mother-daughter duo Lena Dunham and Laurie Simmons posing in front of one of the photographs from How We See.

The Jewish Museum has a rich and fascinating history, and the support of patrons, artists, and museum donors has allowed for exhibitions like How We See thrive in the space. Founded in 1904, the Jewish Museum is “a jewel-box of an art museum, and a distinctive hub for art and Jewish culture for people of all backgrounds.” Supported by a dedicated Board that includes David Topper of General Atlantic, Joan Rosenbaum, Craig Effron of S & E Partners, Joshua Nash of Ulysses Management, and many others, the Jewish Museum has been providing dynamic programming to a wide range of audiences for years.

How We See is a self-admitted “shift” for Simmons, and longtime followers of her work might see why.

Of the project, Laurie Simmons told Artforum’s Andrianna Campbell, “I’ve been trying to reject the notion of nostalgia in my work for a long time, but I feel I may’ve only gotten there recently. Reminiscence, remembrance, recollection, wistfulness, sentimentality: These don’t interest me at all any more. Longing, on the other hand, is an idea I’ve always felt a kinship with. While nostalgia alludes to a past time, longing isn’t temporarily specific. It is, like regret, (another favorite theme for me), the desire to know the road not taken, curiosity about a parallel life, about what might be missing, and even the future.”

For more information about the provocative, eerie exhibit, visit The Jewish Museum online.

How We See

March 13-August 9, 2015

The Jewish Museum

Images: via Instagram.