At the Milwaukee Art Museum, an intense collection of photographs that bring to life still images contained in Taryn Simon’s three major book releases hangs quietly. An absolute gem and highly recommended to photographers Taryn Simon: Photographs and Texts closes tomorrow on New Year’s Day, luckily the Milwaukee Art Museum is open all weekend.
In her first work The Innocents (2002) Simon takes acquitted defendants back to key places cited during their trials, all of whom spent significant time in jail until DNA or other evidence uncovered their innocence. The portraits displayed from this project are as big as life and the moments they represent in the lives of the accused and the victims, both of who ironically were victims to the American justice system.
An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar (2007) and Contraband (2010) are two series of photographs that mostly speak for themselves. Contraband is particularly mind boggling in the post 9-11 world as Taryn Simon craftily convinced some U.S. Customs officials to let her photograph confiscated items that were on there way into the US, before being nabbed. The range of items makes you wonder why everyone does not get a psychological exam before getting their boarding pass. This installation also gives you another way to gauge just how big the world we live in is.
The display of scale-models for all-the-Calatrava’s-that-weren’t entitled Building a Masterpiece: Santiago Calatrava and the Milwaukee Art Museum also closes in the Galleria New Year’s Day. January 1st an all day event will honor the exhibit.