Rose B. Simpson: Counterculture
John Michael Kohler Arts Center
Jul. 17, 2023 - Feb. 25, 2024
The seven cast-concrete figures in Rose B. Simpson’s Counterculture are witnesses—reminders that the natural world is continuously watching humanity. Despite their over ten foot height, the feminine-bodied forms show grace in their vigilance and space taking, carrying necklaces made of ceramic beads instead of taking up weapons.
Simpson’s sculptures are traveling to different sites across the country, including the grounds of the Art Preserve, where they will observe the seasons shift from summer to fall and into winter. Their presence suggests that we, too, should listen and humble ourselves to the natural world, tuning into the ways in which we are responsible for the exploitation of our environment’s limited resources.
If we know something greater than ourselves is watching, will we do things differently?
Counterculture was created for and originally installed on the ancestral lands of the Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of Mohican Indians, in present-day Williamstown, Massachusetts. The sculptures’ move to Wisconsin traces the path of forced removal experienced by the Stockbridge-Munsee Community, which today is located on their reservation in northeastern Wisconsin, with members also living in other parts of Wisconsin, the United States, and the world.
Image: Rose B. Simpson, Counterculture, 2022; dyed concrete, steel, clay, and cable; seven sculptures, 128 x 24 x 11 in. each. Courtesy of the artist, Jessica Silverman, San Francisco, and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. On view at Field Farm, Williamstown, MA, June 2022–May 2023. Photo: Stephanie Zollshan.