Taryn Simon An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar
For this project, Taryn Simon assumes the dual role of shrewd informant and collector of curiosities, compiling an inventory of what lies hidden and out-of-view within the borders of the United States. She examines a culture and its development through careful documentation of diverse subjects from the realms of science, government, medicine, entertainment, nature, security, and religion. Transforming the unknown into a seductive and intelligible form, Simon confronts the divide between those with and without the privilege of access.
Simon makes use of the annotated-photograph’s capacity to engage and inform the public. Through text and image, the work underscores the complicated relationship between a photograph and its context. The visual is processed aesthetically and then redefined by its text.
Her sometimes ethereal, sometimes foreboding compositions, shot with a large-format view camera over a four-year period, vary as much as her subject matter, which ranges from radioactive capsules at a nuclear waste storage facility to a black bear in hibernation. In examining that which is integral to America’s foundation, mythology and daily functioning, Simon creates a collection of works that reflect and reveal a national identity.
About the author
1975, New York, United States
New York, United States
Taryn Simon was born in New York in 1975. Her most recent work, An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, reveals that which is integral to America’s foundation, mythology and daily functioning, but remains inaccessible or unknown to a public audience. Her earlier work, The Innocents, documents cases of wrongful conviction in the United States and investigates photography’s role in that process.
Simon’s photographs have been exhibited nationally and internationally, including solo shows at: the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum Fur Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; and Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin.
Permanent collections include: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museum Fur Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; and Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. She is a graduate of Brown University and a Guggenheim Fellow. Simon has been a visiting artist at Yale University, Bard College, Harvard University and Columbia University. Her photography and writing have been featured in numerous publications and broadcasts including The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Ted.com, CNN, BBC and Frontline. Steidl recently published An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar. Simon’s book Contraband was released in September 2010. Additionally, Simon is currently working on a global project that will be exhibited and published in Spring, 2011. She is represented by the Gagosian Gallery.
Mitch Epstein, American Power, 2003-2008
Christian Als, Kibera - The Shadow City, 2007-2008
Edward Burtynsky, Oil, 1999-2009
Stéphane Couturier, Melting Point, 2005
Chris Jordan, Midway: Message from the Gyre, 2009-2010
Yeondoo Jung, Evergreen Tower, 2001
Vera Lutter, Body of Work, 1997-2006
Nyaba Leon Ouedraogo, The Hell of Copper, 2008
Taryn Simon, An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, 2004-2007
Thomas Struth, Paradise, 1998-2006
Guy Tillim, Petros Village, 2006
Michael Wolf, Architecture of Density, 2005-2009