Torea Frey

Editor, writer, photographer, observer on the street.

Contraband at Lever House

Sometimes Midtown feels a bit soulless. Filled with big stores and looming scaffolds and more cupcake chains than seems necessary to serve the steady stream of wage slaves and bemused tourists. But it has its redeeming factors, and Lever House's exhibits are among them (oh, for the days of the Hirsts!).

The latest is "Contraband," a series of photographs by Taryn Simon:

The 1,075 photographs were taken at both the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Federal Inspection Site and the U.S. Postal Service International Mail Facility at John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York. From November 16, 2009 through November 20, 2009, Taryn Simon remained on site at JFK and continuously photographed items detained or seized from passengers and express mail entering the United States from abroad.

The image above is described as "Bird corpse, labeled as home décor, Indonesia to Miami, Florida (prohibited)." Other items seized include steroids, a bottle made out of a hoof, Cuban cigars, cow dung toothpaste, deer penis, and lard from the Ukraine.