tag Sign Up for our Newsletter
Site Logo
Don’t miss out on the art world’s most entertaining newsletter - every Friday. And career news every Tuesday.
Become a members
Lena Dunham’s Connection To The Art World
It’s in the family…
Uncategorized 12 Nov 2019

We all know Lena Dunham as the body-positive, women empowering creator of HBO hit Girls, but did you know she basically grew up within the art world? Yep, that’s right, with two artist parents, Lena Dunham is arguably a work of art in herself. What’s more, she’s also a painter too, so sit tight while we break down her arty connections!
The Parents

Lena is the first child of painter Caroll Dunham and photographer Laurie Simmons, two huge art giants of the NYC art scene. As a woman in the art world, Lena’s mom Carrie really had to push to get her voice heard, so it’s no wonder that Lena went on to create Girls.
Her Childhood

As the child of two well-known artists, Lena grew up around other artists. She met John Waters as a child at a private view, and her mom’s studio was in their house, meaning she was always surrounded by arty individuals, including Cindy Sherman and Marilyn Minter.
A Muse

Lena’s mom Laurie Simmons has made two works of her daughter. In 2017 her mum photographed her nude – I mean, how many of us would be brave enough to let our parents photograph us naked – where she was covered in body paint as Audrey Hepburn. Additionally, when her mum – who is famous for depicting dolls – was commissioned to make a dollhouse for MoMA, she included a doll version of Lena too!
The Collection

In an interview with the Talk Art podcast, Lena explained that her dad Carroll Dunham told her that art collecting is about having passion. Lena loves figurative paintings by women, and her collection includes works by Jenna Gribbon, Penelope Gazin and Natalia Fabia. Her first purchase was a work by Ellen Berkenblit, and we also know that her mom Laurie Simmons saves one of every photo she makes for Lena and her sibling, while her dad does the same with his prints.
Lena The Painter

Lena is not only the daughter of artists, she is an artist too. She is a painter herself, making images predominantly of women in watercolour, and has even had work on display at Red Truck Gallery in New Orleans.

Her works often depict women she admires, from celebrities Kate Moss and Chelsea Handler, to female artists Helen Frankenthaler and Grace Hartigan.
The Arty Friends
Lena also has lots of friends within the arts. In fact, when she’s in Los Angeles, she lives with artist Paul Monroe, the brains behind the Greer Lankton Archives Museum.

She’s also pals with designer Christopher Kane, who exhibited her watercolours in his London store this past October.
Lena The Film Maker
And taking it right back to what we know Lena best for: being filmmaker. In case you didn’t know, the first film Lena ever made, Tiny Furniture, stars her mum and artist Laurie Simmons in her house. The film won the best narrative feature at the SXSW Film Festival, so it was clear she was a star right from the beginning of her career.
Text Lizzy Vartanian

You May Also Like

An Interview with Tanzanian Artist Valerie Asiimwe Amani
An Interview with Tanzanian Artist Valerie Asiimwe Amani
What to Catch at the Venice Biennale 2024: Insider Tips for the Artfully Curious
What to Catch at the Venice Biennale 2024: Insider Tips for the Artfully Curious
Weekly Wrap-Up
Weekly Wrap-Up
London’s small galleries are re-opening this week
London’s small galleries are re-opening this week
The A-Z Of 2020 Art World Happenings - Part 1
The A-Z Of 2020 Art World Happenings - Part 1
9 Paintings of Winter Wonderlands
9 Paintings of Winter Wonderlands


Assistant Curator / Intern
LoZo Gallery - Franklin, PA
Freelance Copywriter
The Armin Bar (NYC|Milan) - Milan, Lombardy, Italy
Deputy Director
Para Site - Hong Kong
 Auction House Intern
New Art Est-Ouest - Hong Kong