Easy to Remember

Easy to Remember

2001
Artist
Lorna Simpson, American, 1960-
Born: Brooklyn, NY
Work Locations: Brooklyn, NY
Country
United States
single-channel video
16 mm film transferred to DVD with sound
Funds from Norton Family Foundation, Cathey and Richard Finlon, and department acquisition funds
2002.89.1-3

Lorna Simpson, Easy to Remember, 2001. 16mm film, transferred to DVD, with sound; 2 min 35 sec 
Denver Art Museum: Funds from the Norton Family Foundation, Cathey and Richard Finlon, and the department acquisition funds, 2002.89.1-3. © Lorna Simpson
 

Dimensions
diameter: 5 3/4 in, 14.6050 cm; depth: 1/16 in, 0.1588 cm; image height: 108 in, 274.3200 cm; image width: 144 in, 365.7600 cm
Edition
1/1
Inscription
Written in ink on Disc "Lorna Simpson, Easy to Remember, 2001, 16mm film transferred to DVD, running time 2:35 minutes" and on bottom half "Edition 1 with 1 AP (#1/1) LS-82.1"
Department
Modern and Contemporary Art
Collection
Modern and Contemporary Art
Humming in unison, fifteen mouths transform the classic Rodgers and Hart song, "It's Easy to Remember (And So Hard to Forget)," into a subtle comment on racial difference. On one hand, Simpson's chorus of anonymous black performers can be seen as universalized, but the repetitive sequence of mouths that hum instead of sing can also represent the erasing of individuality and silencing of voices that lie at the heart of racism. While the song is familiar and comforting, the performance is gently subversive, for the black hummers are following in the footsteps of African American jazz musicians like Billie Holliday and John Coltrane who claimed the song, which was originally written by and for white men, as their own. The work becomes an ironically disquieting reminder that the effects of racism are, like the title of this catchy tune, hard to forget.
Exhibition History
  • "The Whitney Biennial"--The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 3/7/2002 - 5/26/2002
  • "Retrospectacle: 25 Years of Collecting Modern and Contemporary Art"--Denver Art Museum, 11/16/2002 - 8/3/2003
  • "BLINK! Light, Sound and Moving Image"--Denver Art Museum, 3/10/2011 - 4/30/2011

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