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Choreographer Helen PickettLaurie Simmons

November 26, 2008

Choreographer Helen Pickett describes the physical demeanors of the characters in Laurie Simmons’ 2006 film The Music of Regret at the Alvin Ailey Dance Studio in New York.

Simmons’ first film, The Music of Regret features characters such as the Dress, the Cupcake, the Book, and the Pocket Watch. “She really wanted the different objects to have their own personality,” Pickett recalls. “It’s every object’s little story.” Simmons extends her photographic practice to performance within this forty minute “mini-musical,” incorporating musicians, professional puppeteers, dancers, Hollywood cinematographer Ed Lachman, and actress Meryl Streep.

More information and credits


Producer: Susan Sollins & Nick Ravich. Camera: Joel Shapiro. Sound: Roger Phenix. Editor: Mark Sutton. Artwork courtesy: Laurie Simmons. Thanks: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Laurie Simmons

Laurie Simmons stages photographs and films with paper dolls, finger puppets, ventriloquist dummies, and costumed dancers as “living objects,” animating a dollhouse world suffused with nostalgia and colored by an adult’s memories, longings, and regrets. Simmons’s work blends psychological, political, and conceptual approaches to art making—transforming photography’s propensity to objectify people, especially women, into a sustained critique of the medium. Mining childhood memories and media constructions of gender roles, her photographs are charged with an eerie, dreamlike quality.

Dance & Collaboration

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“The Music of Regret”

Laurie Simmons discusses her 2006 film The Music of Regret, and how she came to use ventriloquist dummies in her earlier work.

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Laurie Simmons

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Laurie Simmons

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