Point of View
The arched, khaki-colored Entry (2020) [pictured] has elegant, curved lines—but no possible way for a person to enter. Meanwhile, Portico (2020), contrary to its name, has no roof. Diane Simpson’s sculpture abuts a corner, and its only columns and cornices are implied via creases and slits in the Gatorboard. “Point of View,” an exhibition of Simpson’s work at JTT is only the octogenarian artist’s second solo show in New York. It delights in unintuitive architecture, sampling an international palate of sources and revisiting her drawings from nearly four decades ago to envision a world just slightly bent out of proportion.
Simpson demonstrates a passion for vernacular architecture, including that of her native Chicago, whose early 20th-century skyscraper boom froze much of the city in Art Deco. But she also sweeps the world for inspiration, simultaneously streamlining and embellishing according to her fancy. See, for instance, the single-railed Bannister (Vienna) (2021), which zigzags slightly on its way up the silhouette of uneven steps, or Three Windows (NYC) (2020), which looks like no window this native New Yorker has ever seen. A triptych of planes with punched-out holes, intersected by a set of cloth bands that pun on mullions, it serenely excises utility from architecture.
Other works find their source material from Simpson’s earliest drawings of axonometric projections on graph paper, originally conceived of in the early 1980s. Two Point Enclosure (2021), newly constructed from a never-seen cardboard original, is a winged vision in non-right angles. If you, like most of us, don’t have a mind like Simpson’s, the built sculpture illuminates her drawn plans, unscrambling, for instance, the many planes of Drawing for Two Point Enclosure (back view) (1981). And don’t forget to hook left and visit the back of the gallery, where Simpson presents a whimsical wearable structure, including breastplate, headpiece, and calf-protecting chausses, in far-hardier material than her architectural structures. —Lisa Yin Zhang
Diane Simpson, Entry, 2020. LDF, hardboard, paint, stain, tape, galvanized steel
84 x 42.5 x 20 inches. Photography by Charles Benton. Courtesy of the artist, JTT, New York, Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago, and Herald St, London.