Chapter XVIII, A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I–XVIII

Excerpt from Annotation Panel, Chapter XVIII, A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I-XVIII:

José Antonio Dávila García-Miranda (1) was arrested in 1962 under Spain’s Ley de Vagos y Maleantes (Vagrancy Act) for suspected homosexuality and imprisoned for seventy-nine days in Madrid’s Carabanchel prison. Homosexuals were regularly imprisoned, put in camps, sent to mental institutions, and tortured under General Francisco Franco’s regime, which governed Spain from 1939 until Franco’s death in 1975. Franco was committed to the enforcement of traditional Catholic
values. His strong relationship with the Church helped to reinforce laws like the Vagrancy Act and the Ley sobre Peligrosidad y Rehabilitación Social (Danger to Society and Social Rehabilitation Act), which gave law enforcement officials the power to arrest suspected homosexuals and imprison them as a danger to the public. Political dissenters were also frequently accused of homosexuality and imprisoned.

Homosexuals could be jailed until the law criminalizing same-sex acts was overturned in 1979. In 2001, Spain pledged to expunge the records of those who had been persecuted for homosexuality, and in 2005, same-sex marriage legislation was passed. Spain’s recent progressive legislative record
regarding gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues has received criticism and resistance from the Catholic Church and has strained Church–state relations. Most controversial was the government’s decision to allow adoption by samesex couples, as well as a law allowing transsexuals to register their preferred gender on official documents. Many homosexual victims of Franco’s persecution are seeking reparations from the Spanish government. In 2010, José Antonio Dávila García-Miranda was
compensated 4,000 EUR for his imprisonment under the Vagrancy Act.

More than seventy countries currently criminalize homosexuality. Those that punish same-sex acts with death include: Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Mauritania, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Yemen, and some
parts of Nigeria and Somalia. Spain is one of very few countries to accept homosexuals seeking asylum.

About Taryn Simon

Conceptual artist Taryn Simon’s photographs and accompanied writing are the result of a long process of research and investigation. For her 2011 work A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters, produced over a four-year period, Simon traveled around the world collecting stories and images that mapped the relationships among chance, blood, and other components of fate. Her work Contraband (2010) presented 1,075 images of items that were detained or seized from passengers and mail entering the United States from abroad. An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar (2007), revealed objects, sites, and spaces that are integral to America's foundation or daily functioning but remain inaccessible or unknown to the public audience, including a nuclear waste storage facility, a braille edition of Playboy, and the art collection of the CIA. Equally concerned with formalism and realism, Simon seeks seductive images of inaccessible and unrecognized, but symbolic, subjects, and maintains a diverse practice that extends to film, sculpture, and performance.

American, b. 1975, New York, New York, based in New York, New York

Solo Shows on Artsy

Paperwork and the Will of Capital, Almine Rech, Brussels
Taryn Simon: Birds of the West Indies, Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills
Taryn Simon: Black Square, Gagosian Gallery, Athens
Taryn Simon: Contraband, Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills

Group Shows on Artsy

Installment 1: Inaugural Exhibition, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris

Fair History on Artsy