Amanda N. Simons

04Amanda N. Simons is an artist, writer, and educator based in Oakland. She is a graduate of the Dual-Degree MFA/MA Program in Studio Art and Visual and Critical Studies (2014). A native of mid-Michigan, she received dual BFA/BA degrees from the University of Michigan-Flint, in Studio Art (painting) and English (writing) with High Honors in both. After her undergraduate education, Amanda worked at a bank during the mortgage industry collapse, served on the board of directors of a local art gallery, and exhibited her visual work widely across the Midwest. Since she moved to California, her visual work has been featured in a nationally traveling exhibition and her written work was featured at the Homonationalism and Pinkwashing Conference in New York, and she is the exhibition coordinator for San Francisco’s Queer Cultural Center. In both her writing and her making practices, Amanda interrogates the complexities of law, gender identity, and social expectations.

Talk: email [at] amandansimons [dot] com

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About Amanda N. Simons' Thesis Project

Amanda N. Simons

Until _______ Do Us Part: Paradoxical Representations of Same-Sex Marriage in Post-DOMA United States

Two women hold hands while a minister validates their “marriage.” While an image of two brides certainly offers a depiction of same-sex marriage, its social and cultural value is less than that of its heteronormative counterpart. Since the passage of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), government-validated same-sex marriage in the United States has been politically in flux and legally conflicting between state and federal laws, yet images of same-sex couples posed in tropes of the marriage ceremony are still (paradoxically) created, circulated, and modeled as a visual instruction manual of sorts. This project examines post-DOMA depictions of queer weddings in The New Yorker, Astonishing X-Men comics, the Internet, and beyond, interrogating the marketing of same-sex marriage equality in light of national legal conflicts. Can an image of two smiling brides really represent “marriage,” or does such a depiction spark the potential for new—yet still unequal—meaning-making?

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