Taryn Simon will be taking us on a tour through the “weirdness hidden in plain sight — on our sidewalks, along our roadsides and in our public rituals and spectacles” next March in a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and in a volume available later that summer.
If you can't make it to the exhibition or can't wait for the book, The New York Times Magazine has published some of Simon's photographs, including the one above taken at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Contraband Room at the Kennedy International Airport: “Among the items seized from passengers in the 48 hours before the photograph was taken: African cane rats infested with maggots, Andean potatoes, Bangladeshi cucurbit plants, a pig’s head from South America.”
One wonders if these detention rooms might just be some of the most biologically diverse places in the lower 48 states.
Another photo takes a look inside the Avian Quarantine Facility New York Animal Import Center in Newburgh, New York. What we see caged are “African gray parrots and European finches, seized upon illegal importation into the U.S., in quarantine. Imported birds must undergo a 30-day mandatory quarantine in a U.S. Department of Agriculture animal-import facility. Before release, each bird is tested for avian influenza and exotic Newcastle disease.”
Again, seeing how empty the sky above Chicago is at the moment, one wonders if it's an ecological wasteland compared to these secret aviaries.