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
Homi K. Bhabha
Simon’s case studies are meditations on the touching of opposites—order and disorder, civility and barbarism, violence and aspiration—in the inscription of the human condition.
—Homi K. Bhabha
In his essay “Beyond Photography,” Homi K. Bhabha elaborates on the themes, structures, and stories that comprise Taryn Simon’s A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I–XVIII (2008–11), a collection that is at once cohesive and arbitrary, mapping the relationships among chance, blood, and other components of fate. The essay is available for online reading from June 23 through August 31 as part of Artist Spotlight: Taryn Simon.
Taryn Simon: A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I–XVIII (2nd ed. New York: Gagosian Gallery; London: Wilson Center for Photography, 2012)
Foreword to “An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar”
Democracy needs visibility, accountability, light. It is in the unseen darkness that unsavoury things huddle and grow.
Salman Rushdie discusses Taryn Simon’s An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, which depicts objects, sites, and spaces that are integral to America’s foundation, mythology, and daily operations but that remain inaccessible or unknown. His text is available for online reading from June 23 through August 31 as part of Artist Spotlight: Taryn Simon.
Taryn Simon: An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar (3rd ed. Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz, 2013)
Taryn Simon in China
In the end, what interests me most in this story is not the absoluteness of censorship but rather the way this particular system provides a set of constraints which, like most constraints, can be short-circuited to different effect. Certain panels may not have entered China, but the images and information they contain could not be kept out.
Philip Tinari, director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), describes a 2013–14 presentation of Taryn Simon’s A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I–XVIII at UCCA Beijing. This text is available for online reading from June 23 through August 31 as part of Artist Spotlight: Taryn Simon.
Taryn Simon: Rear Views, a Star-forming Nebula, and the Office of Foreign Propaganda (London: Tate Publishing, 2015)
Monday, March 29, 2021, 7pm EDT
Join Taryn Simon and writer and photographer Teju Cole as they reflect on Simon’s artistic practice and creative process. An award-winning novelist, Cole encountered Simon’s exhibition Paperwork and the Will of Capital in a Brussels gallery on the eve of the 2016 United States presidential election. When the results of that election left him shocked and in despair, Cole found himself temporarily unable to write. Simon’s art, however, continued to inform his thinking and writing process. He revisited her work with the essay “Capital, Diplomacy and Carnations” for the New York Times Magazine—a look at Simon’s masterful take on “powerful forces in the world that shape our day-to-day realities.” A live question-and-answer session will follow the talk, which is hosted by the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio. To join the online event, register at osu.edu.
Left: Taryn Simon. Photo: © Taryn Simon. Right: Teju Cole. Photo: Maggie Janik
Ice and Fire: A Benefit Exhibition in Three Parts
October 15, 2020–March 23, 2021
The benefit exhibition Ice and Fire features works by more than forty artists who have enduring relationships with the Kitchen in New York. Installed within the organization’s three-story space in Chelsea, which is currently closed due to the global pandemic, the three-part exhibition is viewable online. Proceeds from sales will go toward a planned renovation on the occasion of the Kitchen’s fiftieth anniversary, ensuring that the nonprofit space will remain a platform for artistic experimentation in its historic and beloved building. Work by Cecily Brown, Roe Ethridge, Mark Grotjahn, Alex Israel, Ed Ruscha, Taryn Simon, Mary Weatherford, and Christopher Wool is included.
Mark Grotjahn, Untitled (Capri 53.57), 2020 © Mark Grotjahn
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
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’”
Award and Talk
May 18–21, 2017
Photo London, Somerset House
Photo London has selected Taryn Simon as its Master of Photography 2017. Simon will present Image Atlas, a live online digital archive that she developed in collaboration with programmer Aaron Swartz. Simon will be in conversation with James Lingwood, codirector of Artangel, at Photo London’s Talks Program on Thursday, May 18, 1:00–2:20pm, Somerset House.
Concurrently, Gagosian Britannia Street will present selected works by Simon. Works from An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar in the Tate’s permanent collection remain on view at Tate Modern through December 1, 2017.
Taryn Simon and Aaron Swartz, Border, 9/30/16, 12:19pm (Eastern Standard Time), Image Atlas, 2012, website view
Free Arts NYC honors Taryn Simon at the eighteenth annual art auction on April 26, 2017. Simon will be working with Free Arts youth on a project related to her body of work, The Picture Collection. Free Arts NYC is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering underserved youth through art and mentoring programs that develop their creativity, confidence, and skills to succeed.
Photo: David Pinzer
Where the Secret Goes
In this video produced by the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebaek, Denmark, Taryn Simon speaks about what drives her as an artist and about the research-based working process through which she gained access to and documented places normally inaccessible to the public for An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar (2007). Following September 11, 2001, as the American government and media sought hidden sites beyond US borders, Simon explains, she looked inside her own country, examining the divide between privileged and public access—and the psychological and bureaucratic barriers—in domains including religion, security, governance, entertainment, and law.
Still from “Taryn Simon Interview: Where the Secret Goes”
Gagosian App for iPad
Gagosian announces the release of issue 4 of the Gagosian App for iPad on July 13, 2013. Artists featured in this issue include Georg Baselitz, Piero Manzoni, Robert Rauschenberg, Nancy Rubins, Thomas Ruff, Taryn Simon, and Cy Twombly.
In issue 4 we feature an illustrated “pop-up” biography of Georg Baselitz, show Piero Manzoni’s Azimuth magazines digitized with full English translations for the first time, offer an endless “art board” of works from the exhibition The Private Collection of Robert Rauschenberg, including historical and biographical information on more than seventy-six artists. We also show a comprehensive overview of Nancy Rubins’s monumental public sculptures made from industrial objects, and give you a look at Thomas Ruff’s stereoscopic ma.r.s. photographs in 3-D. We invite you to interact with multimedia highlights from Taryn Simon’s four major bodies of work, curated by the artist, and explore Cy Twombly’s final paintings with a photographic and audio tribute to the artist by Sally Mann.
Taryn Simon in
16th Biennale de Lyon: Manifesto of Fragility
Through December 31, 2022
Various locations in Lyon, France
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.
Taryn Simon, Memorandum on Security Assurances in Connection with Ukraine’s Accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (Budapest Memorandum). Budapest, Hungary, December 5, 1994, from the series Paperwork and the Will of Capital, 2015 © Taryn Simon
Taryn Simon in
Selections from the Collection
Through April 30, 2023
George Eastman Museum, Rochester, New York
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
It Begins with an Idea
April 23–November 27, 2022
Fondazione Prada, Venice
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 in
Alter + Ego
June 30–October 29, 2022
Eres Foundation, Munich
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
Birds of the West Indies
June 7–October 23, 2022
Conservatory Gallery, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, New York
In Birds of the West Indies, which takes its title from a taxonomy by American ornithologist James Bond, Taryn Simon identifies, photographs, and classifies every bird that appears in the first twenty-four James Bond films. Casting herself as Bond the ornithologist, Simon trains her eye away from the agents of seduction—luxury, power, violence, sex—to look only in the margins.
Installation view, Taryn Simon: Birds of the West Indies, Conservatory Gallery, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, New York, June 7–October 23, 2022. Artwork © Taryn Simon. Photo: Liz Ligon
Taryn Simon in
May 13–August 28, 2022
Ludwig Múzeum, Budapest
The guiding principle of Előhívás/Emplotment is the adaptation of both material and personal sources of trauma by means of the tools of visual art and a novel analysis of their performative representation. The duality of the exhibition’s Hungarian and English titles reflects the complexity inherent in the topic of trauma. The exhibition is primarily conceived as a platform that, rather than showing works that seek to represent traumatic experiences and tragic events, focuses on creative processes that use art as a potential active tool for processing trauma. Work by Taryn Simon is included.
Taryn Simon, Troy Webb; Scene of the crime, The Pines, Virginia Beach, Virginia; Served 7 years of a 47-year sentence for Rape, Kidnapping and Robbery, from the series The Innocents, 2002 © Taryn Simon
Taryn Simon in
Give and Take. Bilder über Bilder
May 20–August 28, 2022
Hamburger Kunsthalle, Germany
This exhibition, whose subtitle translates to Images upon Images, is part of the 8th Triennial of Photography Hamburg 2022. Give and Take explores processes of exchange and appropriation of visual material in contemporary photography. The artists featured in the exhibition draw on a rich trove of material, from early picture archives, historical film footage, museum collections, classic print media, and digital images on social media and in search engines. In their respective mediums, ranging from photography and film to installation, they respond to images that originated in another time or were made for a different purpose. Work by Taryn Simon is included.
Installation view, Give and Take. Bilder über Bilder, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Germany, May 20–August 28, 2022. Artwork © Taryn Simon. Photo: Fred Dott
Zeitgenössische Fotografie aus Kanada und den USA
March 12–June 26, 2022
Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Austria
This group exhibition, whose subtitle translates to Contemporary Photography from Canada and the USA, presents work by more than thirty North American artists spanning three generations whose photography is informed by our digital age—both through their employment of digital technologies and in terms of their engagement with the “flood of images” that defines visual culture of the twenty-first century. This exhibition has traveled from the Sprengel Museum Hannover, Germany. Work by Gregory Crewdson, Taryn Simon, and Jeff Wall is included.
Taryn Simon, Ronald Jones; Scene of the arrest, South Side, Chicago, Illinois; Served 8 years of a Death sentence for Murder and Rape, from the series The Innocents, 2002 © Taryn Simon
The Color of a Flea’s Eye: The Picture Collection
September 24, 2021–May 15, 2022
New York Public Library
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
Reflection, Resilience, and Resistance in the Art of Our Time
May 14, 2021–April 10, 2022
Brooklyn Museum, New York
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, Rick Lowe, Nathaniel Mary Quinn, and Taryn Simon.
Taryn Simon, Press XL, from the series Paperwork and the Will of Capital, 2015, Brooklyn Museum, New York © Taryn Simon
Zeitgenössische Fotografie aus Kanada und den USA
November 6, 2021–February 13, 2022
Sprengel Museum Hannover, Germany
This group exhibition, whose subtitle translates to Contemporary Photography from Canada and the USA, presents work by more than thirty North American artists spanning three generations whose photography is informed by our digital age—both through their employment of digital technologies and in terms of their engagement with the “flood of images” that defines visual culture of the twenty-first century. Work by Gregory Crewdson, Taryn Simon, and Jeff Wall is included.
Gregory Crewdson, Untitled, 2003–08 © Gregory Crewdson
Taryn Simon in
Send Me an Image: From Postcards to Social Media
May 29–September 2, 2021
C/O Berlin Foundation
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