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Rose B. Simpson: Strata

Ames Family Atrium

The Cleveland Museum of Art

  • Date Sunday, July 14, 2024 - Sunday, April 13, 2025
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The Cleveland Museum of Art

Discover the cultural gem of University Circle at the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA). Immerse yourself in a rich tapestry of artistic history and innovation. Established in 1913, the museum has been a cornerstone of our vibrant community for over... more

Rose B. Simpson (b. 1983) has envisioned a site-specific project for the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Ames Family Atrium titled Strata. Simpson’s installation was commissioned specifically for the expansive, light-filled space. According to the artist, Strata is inspired by time spent in Cleveland, “the architecture of the museum, the possibility of the space, tumbled stones from the shores of Lake Erie,” as well as her own Indigenous heritage and the landscape of her ancestral homelands of Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico, where she was born and raised and where she lives and works.

Strata comprises two monumental figural sculptures constructed from the artist’s signature clay medium, in addition to metalwork, porous concrete, and cast bronze. The figures’ layers mimic rock eroded through geologic time and the structural materiality of man-made architecture. Intricate welded metal structures mounted to the heads of each figure, intended to cast shadows, mimic the structures of the mind in relationship to time and space.

Simpson’s identity as a Native woman has greatly impacted her work. She is from a long line of women working in the ceramic tradition of her Kha’po Owingeh (Santa Clara Pueblo) tribe dating back to the 500s CE. Her large-scale sculptures represent a bold intervention in colonial legacies of dependency, erasure, and assimilation, and balance her tribe’s inherited ceramic tradition with modern methods, materials, and processes. Her work asserts a pride of place and belonging on land where Native residents have been forcefully dispossessed of their territories and cultures.

Simpson has had solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, ICA Boston, the Wheelwright Museum, and the Nevada Art Museum, and is represented in museum collections including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Denver Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Princeton University Art Museum, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others. She is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including a Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship, a Women’s Caucus for Art President’s Award for Art & Activism, and was recently appointed by President Biden to the Institute of American Indian Arts Board of Trustees.

The CMA’s presentation of Rose B. Simpson: Strata includes a richly illustrated catalogue with contributions by Nadiah Rivera Fellah, the CMA’s associate curator of contemporary art; Anya Montiel, curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian; Karen Patterson, executive director at the Ruth Foundation; Natalie Diaz (Mojave / Akimel O’odham), Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry at Arizona State University; and artists Rose B. Simpson and Dyani White Hawk (Sicangu Lakota).

Rose B. Simpson: Strata

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