First-Ever Taryn Simon Survey Now Open

Posted on September 18th, 2011

Milwaukee Art Museum originates Taryn Simon survey of three major projects
Artist to visit Museum on Saturday, November 19

Milwaukee, Wis. –  The Milwaukee Art Museum will originate an exhibition of work by New York–based photographer Taryn Simon this Thursday, September 22, 2011.  Simon’s photographs and writings—the result of a long process of research and investigation—present a dizzying array of visual and verbal information.

The exhibition, Taryn Simon: Photographs and Texts, is a selective overview of three major projects Simon executed between 2002 and 2010. Collectively displayed, they underscore the invisible space between language and the visual world—a space in which translation and disorientation continually occur.

• The Innocents (2002) questions photography’s function as a credible eyewitness and arbiter of justice through portraits of individuals who were convicted of violent crimes they did not commit.

• An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar (2007) comprises photographs and texts revealing objects and sites that are integral to America’s foundation, mythology, or daily functioning but remain inaccessible or unknown to the public.

• Contraband (2010) consists of 1,075 images depicting items detained or seized from passengers entering the United States from abroad over a five-day period, indexed and installed according to their official classification.

“Simon is one of today’s most celebrated young artists. By highlighting the precarious and often unreliable seams between photographic imagery, textual material, and definitive knowledge, Simon’s art draws attention to  habits of inference and judgment,” said Lisa Hostetler, curator of photographs for the Milwaukee Art Museum. “While her seductively beautiful photographs attract the eye, the accompanying texts disclose unexpected—sometimes shocking—details about the subject of the picture. Given a contemporary world rife with images and information, her work speaks to issues that affect us all.”

Simon’s photographs have been exhibited nationally and internationally, including solo shows at: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; and the 54th Venice Biennale. 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.

Simon will be in Milwaukee on Saturday, November 19 for a special Artist Talk and book signing at the Museum. The event begins at 1:30 p.m. and is free with Museum admission.

Taryn Simon: Photographs and Texts runs September 22, 2011, through January 1, 2012. It then travels to the Moscow Multimedia Art Museum from January 20 through February 19, 2012, and to the Helsinki Art Museum from March 9 through May 6, 2012.

Sponsored by the Herzfeld Foundation, with additional support from Madeleine and David Lubar, Christine A. Symchych, Tony and Sue Krausen, and the Photography Council, a support group of the Milwaukee Art Museum.

The Milwaukee Art Museum’s far-reaching holdings include more than 25,000 works spanning antiquity to the present day. With a history dating back to 1888, the Museum houses a collection with strengths in 19th- and 20th-century American and European art, contemporary art, American decorative arts, and folk and self-taught art. The Museum includes the Santiago Calatrava-designed Quadracci Pavilion, named by Time magazine as “Best Design of 2001.” For more information, please visit www.mam.org.