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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, Imperial Office of the World Knights of the Ku Klu Klan (KKK), Sharpsburg, Maryland, 2007, from the series An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, 2007 © Taryn Simon

On View

Taryn Simon in
Selections from the Collection

Through April 30, 2023
George Eastman Museum, Rochester, New York
www.eastman.org

Since the invention of photography, the documentation of war has been a subject of interest to the camera and consumers. People have long relied on photographs to view and grapple with the harsh realities of war and conflict. This selection ranges from the Crimean War (1853–56) to the Afghanistan War (2001–21). The works challenge us to think critically about how photography documents and disseminates information about war, and how photographers’ approaches to recording war has shifted over time. Work by Taryn Simon is included.

Taryn Simon, Imperial Office of the World Knights of the Ku Klu Klan (KKK), Sharpsburg, Maryland, 2007, from the series An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, 2007 © Taryn Simon

Installation view, 16th Biennale de Lyon: Manifesto of Fragility, Fagor Factory, Lyon, France, September 14–December 31, 2022. Artwork © Taryn Simon. Photo: Blaise Adilon

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Taryn Simon in
16th Biennale de Lyon: Manifesto of Fragility

September 14–December 31, 2022
Various locations in Lyon, France
www.labiennaledelyon.com

Manifesto of Fragility, curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath for the 16th Biennale de Lyon in France, explores fragility as one of few universally felt truths in our divided world. Ten photographs from Taryn Simon’s series, Paperwork and the Will of Capital (2015), are included in the exhibition, among the work of more than two hundred artists. In the series, Simon addresses the instability of executive decision-making and the precarious nature of survival by examining accords, treaties, and decrees drafted to influence systems of governance and economics. All involve the countries present at the 1944 United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, which addressed the globalization of economies after World War II.

Installation view, 16th Biennale de Lyon: Manifesto of Fragility, Fagor Factory, Lyon, France, September 14–December 31, 2022. Artwork © Taryn Simon. Photo: Blaise Adilon

Installation view, Human Brains: It Begins with an Idea, Fondazione Prada, Venice, April 23–November 27, 2022. Artwork © Taryn Simon. Photo: Marco Cappelletti, courtesy Fondazione Prada

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Human Brains
It Begins with an Idea

April 23–November 27, 2022
Fondazione Prada, Venice
www.fondazioneprada.org

Curated by Udo Kittelmann in collaboration with Taryn Simon, this exhibition fills three floors of Ca’ Corner della Regina and is the result of an in-depth research process carried out with Fondazione Prada and a scientific board chaired by Giancarlo Comi and composed of physicians, philosophers, scientists, and researchers. It is part of a multidisciplinary project of the same name launched by Fondazione Prada in November 2020 and centering on the brain, a unique organ due to the complexity of its functions, which are fundamental in the characterization of human beings.

Installation view, Human Brains: It Begins with an Idea, Fondazione Prada, Venice, April 23–November 27, 2022. Artwork © Taryn Simon. Photo: Marco Cappelletti, courtesy Fondazione Prada

Taryn Simon, Cryopreservation Unit, Cryonics Institute, Clinton Township, Michigan, 2004–07, from the series An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, 2007 © Taryn Simon

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Taryn Simon in
Alter + Ego

June 30–October 29, 2022
Eres Foundation, Munich
eres-stiftung.de

In a world in which scientific developments offer new opportunities for extending human life spans and optimizing our bodies’ physical performance, this exhibition presents artistic approaches that illuminate the promises of various aspects of “human enhancement” and explore ideas around how we come to terms with aging and the ephemeral nature of life itself. Work by Taryn Simon is included.

Taryn Simon, Cryopreservation Unit, Cryonics Institute, Clinton Township, Michigan, 2004–07, from the series An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, 2007 © Taryn Simon

See all Museum Exhibitions for Taryn Simon