9A Untitled from “Utah Series”
American, born 1974
Xaviera Simmons works at the intersection of performance art and photography. For her Utah series, she staged self-portraits while trekking through the state’s rugged and wild terrain. The resulting works recall historical images of the westward expansion in both early photography and landscape painting of the 1800s, when artists began to explore America’s sublime and unknown frontier. Against this backdrop, Simmons evokes the nation’s colonial legacy, questions the accepted narrative of the country’s inevitable expansion, and she indicates the overlooked roles of African Americans in that narrative.