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Document 1216921
Slide Nineteen: Lorna Simpson
1. Have students review the words “backlash,” “backbone,” “background,” “backache,” and “backpay”
in this work by Simpson. What associations do these terms provoke about race and gender?
2. Refer to the five words in Simpson’s text panels and quoted in exercise #1. Are any of them
suggested in the other works of African American art in this manual? How have various artists
interpreted these loaded terms and communicated their significance?
3. Discuss the notion of a conceptual approach to art. How is the experience of viewing and
understanding Outline different from that of looking at and comprehending work by Tanner, Motley,
or Pippin? What must the viewer bring to each experience? Have students debate the artistic merit of
Outline versus art that is narrative.
4. Simpson strives to give blacks and females a voice—to let these culturally, historically, economically
silent and passive individuals finally “talk back.” Have each student pick one of the five words in
Outline as the basis for a written or verbal monologue in which a fictional African American or
woman “talks back” about his/her experience with the term.
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