Göttingen: Steidl, 2007. Folio (13 x 10 inches). 152 pages. 57 color illustrations. Brown cloth, with inset black cloth title panel on front cover. Without jacket as issued. A near-fine copy, with a few small marks on covers and very pale age-toning to sheet edges. Item #407079
First edition, now somewhat scarce. Published to accompany the exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in March 2007. "Taryn Simon’s An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar reveals objects, sites and spaces that are integral to America’s foundation, mythology or daily functioning, but which remain inaccessible or unknown to a public audience. To make the more than 60 large-format photographs often required protracted negotiations before Simon was granted access to the sites. When circumstances permitted, she photographed with a large-format camera and careful lighting, emphatically not following the tradition of the journalistic snapshot. The photographs include radioactive containers in a storage facility for nuclear waste; the recreational facility of a high-security prison; the headquarters of the Ku Klux Klan with its Wizards, Night Hawks and Kleagles; a Scientology seminar room; MOUT, a facade city in Kentucky built as a training ground for urban warfare; the sealed-off halls of the CIA headquarters; a high-security research institute studying animal epidemics; and an operating room in which a Palestinian woman had her hymen (and thus her virginity) restored. Each image is accompanied by a brief text written by the artist, that precisely explains what is seen and why it is hidden or off-limits. Although An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar forces us to confront the darker side of democratic society, it also conveys the fascination that attends the exploration of forbidden territories" (the publisher). It was reprinted in 2013 by Hatje Cantz, and that edition is now also out of print.