Rose B. Simpson

b.1983 Santa Clara Pueblo, NM; lives in Santa Clara Pueblo, NM

Rose B. Simpson is a mixed-media artist working from her home at Santa Clara Pueblo, where she is rooted in the long tradition of Pueblo potters and the vibrant car culture of New Mexico. She is engaged in many disciplines, including ceramic sculpture, metals, fashion, performance, music, installation, writing, custom cars, and printmaking. She received an MFA in Ceramics from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2011 and an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction from the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in 2018. Simpson is represented in museum collections across the country and exhibited internationally.

Following her RISD program, Simpson returned home to New Mexico and enrolled in the Northern New Mexico College Automotive Science program. This unlikely move into car customization was in part to embrace the lowrider culture where she grew up, and also to master another technical skill. From the automotive shop in Española she restored a 1985 Chevy El Camino, transforming the common vehicle into a powerful symbolic entity known as Maria after the famed San Ildefonso Pueblo potter Maria Martinez (1887-1980). Simpson incorporated the classic black-on-black patterns of San Ildefonso pottery across Maria’s exterior, honoring the Pueblo tradition and also marking a radical shift in the visual language of contemporary Native American art. Maria made its first appearance in 2014 at the Denver Art Museum, as part of a performance in which Simpson delivered the car flanked by a squad of post-apocalyptic Indigenous warriors, made up of people of indigenous and queer identities. 

Simpson has a BFA from the Institute of American Indian Art, an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design and an MA in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts. She has had recent solo exhibitions at The Fabric Workshop and Museum (Philadelphia, PA), ICA Boston (Boston, MA), the Wheelwright Museum (Santa Fe, NM), the Nevada Art Museum (Reno, NV), and SCAD Museum of Art (Savannah, GA). Museum collections include the Denver Art Museum, ICA Boston, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Nevada Art Museum, Pomona College Museum of Art, Portland Art Museum, Princeton University Art Museum, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Simpson is represented by Chiaroscuro Contemporary Art, Jack Shainman Gallery, and Jessica Silverman Gallery. Simpson is included in the 2024 Whitney Biennial.