Taryn Simon was born in New York in 1975. Her most recent work, Contraband, which includes 1075 photographs of items detained or seized from passengers and express mail entering the U.S. from abroad, exposes the desires and demands that drive the international economy as well as the local economies that produce them. Her previous 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: 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 published An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar as well as Simon’s most recent work, Contraband, which was released in September 2010. Additionally, Simon is currently working on a global project that will be exhibited and published in Spring 2011 at the Tate Modern, London and the Neue Nationalegalerie, Berlin. Simon will be exhibiting a new work at the Venice Biennale 2011. She is represented by Gagosian Gallery & by Almine Rech Gallery in Paris and Brussels.