Taryn Simon - An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar

Nuclear Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility, Cherenkov Radiation, Hanford Site, U.S. Department of Energy, Southeastern Washington State
Submerged in a pool of water at Hanford Site are 1,936 stainless-steel nuclear-waste capsules containing cesium and strontium. Combined, they contain over 120 million curies of radioactivity. It is estimated to be the most curies under one roof in the United States. The blue glow is created by the Cherenkov Effect which describes the electromagnetic radiation emitted when a charged particle, giving off energy, moves faster than light through a transparent medium. The temperatures of the capsules are as high as 330 degrees Fahrenheit. The pool of water serves as a shield against radiation; a human standing one foot from an unshielded capsule would receive a lethal dose of radiation in less than 10 seconds. Hanford is among the most contaminated sites in the United States.
Chromogenic color print
37 1/4 x 44 1/2 inches framed (94.6 x 113 cm)
Ed. of 7


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Opening reception for the artist: Saturday, September 13th, from 6 to 8 pm

What is not known, rarely seen, possesses a form of occult glamour, and it is that black beauty which [Simon] so brightly, and brilliantly, reveals.
—Salman Rushdie

Gagosian Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition by Taryn Simon. This will be the first viewing of her series An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar in Los Angeles.

In this body of work spanning over four years, Taryn Simon confronts the obstacles facing public access to expert knowledge by offering entry, via photography to a selection of restricted or rarely discovered sites across the United States. The resulting series is an exposé of the unseen realities beneath the surface of modern American culture. Simon documents subjects from a wide span of cultural sub-headings, including nature, science, government, and religion. Her photographs range from eccentric to haunting, from a copy of Playboy written in Braille to a portrait of a cancer ridden patient fighting for the right to end his life. She uses a large format view camera when conditions permit, and each of her compositions is accompanied by a text explaining subject and context. The addition of word to image underscores Simon's dual role as voyeur and informant. An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar reveals that for every visible facet of American culture there is an obscured recess equally fundamental to the framework of a national identity.

Taryn Simon was born in New York in 1975. She is a graduate of Brown University and a Guggenheim Fellow. Simon's photographs have been exhibited nationally and internationally, including solo shows at: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2007); Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2004), P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York (2003); High Museum of Art, Atlanta (2006); and Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK), Frankfurt/Main (2007–08). Permanent collections include: The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Tate Modern, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Her photography and writing have been featured in numerous publications and broadcasts including The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, CNN, BBC, Frontline, and NPR. An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar has previously been exhibited at The Whitney Museum of American Art (2007), The Photographer's Gallery, London (2007), the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2007–08), and the Foam Photography Museum, Amsterdam (2008). The catalogue, An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, is published by Steidl and includes a foreword by Salman Rushdie, introduction by Elizabeth Sussman and Tina Kukielski and commentary by Ronald Dworkin.

For more information, please contact the gallery.