Taryn Simon directs our attention to familiar systems of organization—bloodlines, circulating picture collections, mourning rituals, ceremonial flower arrangements—making visible the contours of power and authority hidden within them. Incorporating mediums ranging from photography and sculpture to text, sound, and performance, her works are informed by research on and with institutions including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Central Zionist Archives, the International Commission on Missing Persons, Smith & Wesson, The Walt Disney Company, and the Fine Arts Commission of the CIA. Her books and projects include The Picture Collection (2013–2020), A Cold Hole (2018–2019), Assembled Audience (2018–2019), An Occupation of Loss (2016, 2018), Paperwork and the Will of Capital (2016), Image Atlas (2012), A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters, I–XVIII (2008–2011), Contraband (2010), An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar (2007), Black Square (2006– ), and The Innocents (2000-2003).
Simon produced The Innocents (2000–2003) with the support of a fellowship in photography from the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Her work has been exhibited at the New York Public Library (2021); Wexner Center for the Arts (2020); Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, Massachusetts (2018–2019); Artangel, London (2018); Kunstmuseum Luzern (2018); Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark (2016–2017); United Nations, New York (2016); Park Avenue Armory, New York (2016); Albertinum, Dresden (2016); Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague (2016); Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2016); Jeu de Paume, Paris (2015); the 56th Venice Biennale (2015); UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2013); Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2013); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2012); Tate Modern, London (2011); Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (2011); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2007); Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2007); High Museum of Art, Atlanta (2006); and MoMA PS1, Long Island City, New York (2003).