CUCNY Curated – Desperate Pleasures by Kristin Simmons ’12CC
Kristin Simmons ’12 CC invites Columbia University Club members to be her guest at the opening of her show, Desperate Pleasures.
The locus of Kristin Simmons work is a grey area situated somewhere between a phantasmagoric vision of a foreshortened (or nonexistent) childhood, and an adulthood predicated on conspicuous consumption, where identity is determined by schools attended, clothing and accessories acquired, and the location and dimensions of property owned. Simmons’ work simultaneously satirizes the culture of elite consumption, and acknowledges her own complicity. She critiques without sermonizing, defanging her own criticism in an attempt to persuade her audience to drop its defenses and, paradoxically, to examine the culture of consumption with a more critical mindset. Parallels between childhood games and adult vices are overt. For Simmons, though, the games of childhood serve primarily as thinly veiled training for an adulthood predicated on conspicuous consumption. Simmons does not point fingers so much as suggest, and what she suggests is not that adulthood is a banishment from the Eden of childhood but, rather, that there is no Eden from which to be banished.
Born in New York City, Kristin Simmons is a painter, printmaker, and silkscreen artist with a BA in Studio Art and Art History from Columbia University. She is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the Orra White Hitchcock and National Endowment of the Arts Award. Simmons’ work is eye-catching, playful, and polemical. The discussion and debate surrounding her chosen themes (drugs, capitalism, guns) are never politicized or divisive. While much of her work provokes and polarizes, it never moralizes.