Taryn Simon’s Contraband

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In 2009 Taryn Simon documented over 1,000 examples of seized contraband during a 5-day stint at JFK International Airport.  The resulting body of work, currently on display at Gagosian, Beverly Hills, presents an array of items – unidentified meats, animal parts, cow dung toothpaste – uniformly documented in objective, forensic-style photographs.  Stripped of context by a neutral grey background, these items of trade are effectively re-presented as global artifacts.

Closer to home, photographs from Taryn Simon’s 2007 series An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar are about to go on display at the Centre for Contemporary Photography as part of the Melbourne Festival.  Exhibition dates: 15 October – 12 December 2010.

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