An exhibition by Taryn Simon titled An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar opened recently at the Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles. This body of work spans four years of photographs addressing public access to American private and restricted locations. The images include many current cultural references including governmental and religious spaces, depicting the supposedly open yet concealed duality of American culture. Simon’s photos incorporate informative text that explains the subject and context to the viewer.
Her photos consistently depict the parts of American culture that remain out of view. Her previous body of work, the Innocents, documents the many cases of wrong conviction in the United States. These elaborately lit and staged portraits are filled with blank looks. In some cases, the former prisoners were shown with the people they were accused of victimizing. In interviews that accompanied the exhibition, the prisoners often questioned notions of justice and freedom. These photographs were shown internationally at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in New York, the Haus Der Kunst in Munich and the Kunst-Werke Institute of Contemporary Art in Berlin. Taryn Simon graduated from Brown University and is a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship. Her recent shows have included exhibitions with the Whitney Museum and the Museum fur Modern Kunst, Frankfurt in 2007. Simon was also selected for the 7th Gwangju Biennale in 2007 for this recent body of work.