Taryn Simon at Gagosian
The way public discourse and policy are staged may seem ancillary to the actual processes of state and business, but are much more vital than one might assume, serving as a metaphor for the way that the true effect of a pact can be overlooked when focusing on flowery, triumphant assertions. Subtle signals of ostentation, power, and homeliness or populism are often on display in photo ops for the signing of contracts, declarations, treaties. Taryn Simon throws an unfocused but beautiful spotlight on these semiotics in her current solo, “Paperwork and the Will of Capital,” at Gagosian’s 24th Street location. Simon pairs brief summaries of political and commercial agreements with still-life recreations of the flowers present at the press events used to publicly seal such deals. Also included are pressed samples of the flora and lists of their binomens. Barnett Newman once said that “Aesthetics is for artists what Ornithology is for birds.” One might similarly wonder if decorous displays of authority are to politics what flower arrangements are to botanists.