These Women in the Arts Don’t Take No for an Answer

Last March Vogue published a portrait series photographed by their artist-in-resident Lorna Simpson entitled These Women in the Arts Don’t Take No for an Answer. And although the name is rather trite, the series includes powerful portraiture of some of the most important cultural influencers in New York and across America. The remarkable breadth of women in this series is matched by Simpson’s gorgeous compositions, as the influence and power of these curators, writers, artists, editors, etc. seems to be remarked upon by the dramatic lines of light and architecture surrounding them.

And some of the woman gaze straight into the lens and fix their stare toward the viewer, while others look out of frame or, like Jacqueline Woodson and Marilyn Minter, close their eyes. But with all of the photographs, there is a sense that it is their gaze that holds power, it is their gaze that molds the art world and your participation in it, and, in a very real terms, it is their gaze and imagination that is shaping the viewer’s.

The statement on Vogue‘s website describes the thematics that connect the portraits: “Among all the educators, heads of institutions, musicians, poets, filmmakers, and writers featured, their resilience also sets them apart—and binds them to one another. ‘They don’t take no for an answer,’ Simpson points out. ‘They are creative visionaries whose passions and work have shaped the cultural landscape.'”

But here, their statement doesn’t seem to do the series justice. Then again, what words hope to stand next to the aesthetic and political intricacy of Lorna Simpson’s gaze.

See the full series of portraits by following the link below.