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Artist Spotlight

Taryn Simon

June 23–29, 2021

A storyteller and researcher driven by the mutability of fact and the documentary potential of fiction, Taryn Simon directs our attention to systems of organization—bloodlines, circulating picture collections, mourning rituals, ceremonial flower arrangements—revealing the structures of power and authority hidden within. Working in photography, sculpture, text, sound, performance, and installation, she traces lineages of objects, families, nations, and histories.

Launched in spring 2020 as a weekly platform, the Artist Spotlight series is now in its second season and is presented as a regular part of the gallery’s programming. Each Artist Spotlight highlights work by an individual artist, alongside new editorial features and selected archival content.  

Artist Spotlight: Taryn Simon features a new work by the artist. For more information, please contact the gallery at collecting@gagosian.com.

Photo: Brigitte Lacombe

Photo: Brigitte Lacombe

Related News

Taryn Simon, Cutaways, 2012 © Taryn Simon

Video

Taryn Simon
Cutaways

Taryn Simon’s Cutaways (2012) is available online from June 23 through July 22 as part of Artist Spotlight: Taryn Simon. At the close of the taping of a video interview for Prime Time Russia in Moscow, Simon was asked to sit in silence and stare at the newscasters for several minutes so that the producers could gather additional footage for the editing process. Cutaways presents this footage as an autonomous work.

Taryn Simon, Cutaways, 2012 © Taryn Simon

View of Taryn Simon’s The Pipes (2016–21) prior to installation at MASS MoCA, North Adams, Massachusetts. Artwork © Taryn Simon. Photo: Will McLaughlin, courtesy MASS MoCA

Permanent Installation

Taryn Simon
The Pipes

Taryn Simon’s large-scale outdoor sculpture The Pipes (2016–21) will be on long-term view at MASS MoCA, in North Adams, Massachusetts, starting on June 26, 2021. What began as an oversize concrete instrument for a cacophony of global mourning in Simon’s work An Occupation of Loss (2016) will be populated by the sounds, collective call-and-response, and movements of a living public. The eleven structures that make up the installation—which Simon designed in collaboration with Shohei Shigematsu of the architecture firm OMA—offer the public an immersive experience and a sacred space for reflection, impromptu performance, and stargazing.

View of Taryn Simon’s The Pipes (2016–21) prior to installation at MASS MoCA, North Adams, Massachusetts. Artwork © Taryn Simon. Photo: Will McLaughlin, courtesy MASS MoCA

Still from “Taryn Simon on ‘Black Square’”

Video

Taryn Simon on “Black Square”

In this video produced by Artforum, Taryn Simon discusses her Black Square series (2006–), an ongoing project in which she photographs objects, documents, and individuals against a black field of precisely the same dimensions as Kazimir Malevich’s 1915 Suprematist work of the same name. Simon also speaks about the most recent addition to the series, Black Square XXIV (2020)—a portrait of Joe Biden, whom she photographed at the White House during the first term of his vice presidency, in 2009. Speaking in the days leading up to the 2020 US presidential election, she notes how this still-unfolding event had changed and would continue to change the ways we might view this image.

Still from “Taryn Simon on ‘Black Square’”

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Museum Exhibitions

Taryn Simon, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Contraband Room, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Queens, New York, 2007, from the series An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, 2007 © Taryn Simon

On View

Taryn Simon in
Future Food: Essen für die Welt von morgen

Through August 22, 2021
Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, Dresden, Germany
www.dhmd.de

This exhibition, whose title translates to Future Food: What Will We Eat Tomorrow?, investigates the political, ethical, and cultural significance of eating. This interdisciplinary show features works of contemporary art that address one of the most urgent questions of our time: “How will we—and can we—feed ourselves in the future?” Work by Taryn Simon is included.

Taryn Simon, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Contraband Room, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Queens, New York, 2007, from the series An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, 2007 © Taryn Simon

Taryn Simon and Aaron Swartz, Image Atlas (2012), installation view, C/O Berlin Foundation © Taryn Simon. Photo: David von Becker

On View

Taryn Simon in
Send Me an Image: From Postcards to Social Media

Through September 2, 2021
C/O Berlin Foundation
co-berlin.org

This exhibition considers photography’s transformation from an illustrative medium to one of society’s most significant means of communicating today. The photographs and projects on view illuminate phenomena such as censorship, surveillance, and algorithmic regulation, which affect human activities in our data-driven era. Work by Taryn Simon is included.

Taryn Simon and Aaron Swartz, Image Atlas (2012), installation view, C/O Berlin Foundation © Taryn Simon. Photo: David von Becker

Taryn Simon, Press XL, from the series Paperwork and the Will of Capital, 2015, Brooklyn Museum, New York © Taryn Simon

On View

The Slipstream
Reflection, Resilience, and Resistance in the Art of Our Time

Through March 20, 2022
Brooklyn Museum, New York
www.brooklynmuseum.org

The Slipstream draws examples from Brooklyn Museum’s contemporary art collection to contemplate the profound disruption that occurred in 2020. Borrowing its title from an aeronautical term that refers to the pull of the current that is left in the wake of a large and powerful object, the exhibition examines the placement and displacement of power that runs through American history and continues today. The show features more than sixty works by multiple generations of artists from the 1960s to the present day, including Titus Kaphar and Taryn Simon.

Taryn Simon, Press XL, from the series Paperwork and the Will of Capital, 2015, Brooklyn Museum, New York © Taryn Simon

Installation view, Taryn Simon: The Color of a Flea’s Eye: The Picture Collection, New York Public Library, 2020. Artwork © Taryn Simon. Photo: Rob McKeever

Opening Soon

Taryn Simon
The Color of a Flea’s Eye: The Picture Collection

September 1, 2021–February 27, 2022
New York Public Library
www.nypl.org

A project nine years in the making, The Color of a Flea’s Eye foregrounds the New York Public Library’s Picture Collection, whose storied images have been available, for more than a century, for the public to sift through in search of visual references of every conceivable kind. Intrigued by the Picture Collection since childhood, in 2012 Taryn Simon embarked on a study of its underlying patterns, codes, and orders. Her photography of its contents reveals it to be an inadvertent recorder of changing social mores, disclosing latent fault lines of power, race, and gender.

Installation view, Taryn Simon: The Color of a Flea’s Eye: The Picture Collection, New York Public Library, 2020. Artwork © Taryn Simon. Photo: Rob McKeever

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