• MoMA PS1 / The Innocence Project: Commemorating 30 Years of Service

The Innocence Project

Commemorating 30 Years of Service

Video

We're excited to share video from a powerful evening hosted in May 2022 with the Innocence Project. Above, watch the full event celebrating the organization's 30 years of service and the publication of an expanded 20th anniversary edition of Taryn Simon’s The Innocents, which documents the stories of individuals who were incarcerated for violent crimes they did not commit. The Innocents was first published in 2003 and was exhibited at MoMA PS1 that same year. An excerpt from the book is now available to read on MoMA's website.

Artist Mary Baxter moderated a conversation with Peter Neufeld, Barry Scheck, and Marvin Anderson about the work of the Innocence Project, the history and impact of Simon's The Innocents, the malleability and unreliability of memory, and the misuse of photography in criminal investigations. Then, Herman Atkins, Calvin Johnson, Chris Ochoa, and Tyra Patterson—four individuals whose wrongful convictions are detailed in Taryn Simon's The Innocents—shared live, unscripted stories about what they see—some more than 20 years later—when they look at the photos in which they’re featured from The Innocents. In addition to video of the full evening, you can find shorter excerpts of their stories below.

The Innocence Project is an independent non-profit organization that fights for fair, compassionate, and equitable systems of justice for everyone. Their work to free the innocent and prevent wrongful convictions is guided by science and grounded in anti-racism. MoMA PS1 has had a longstanding relationship with the Innocence Project since Taryn Simon’s exhibition The Innocents in 2003.

Artist Mary Baxter in conversation with Innocence Project co-founders Peter Neufeld, Barry Scheck, and Innocence Project Board Member and exoneree Marvin Anderson.

Calvin C. Johnson, Jr., whose photos and case history are presented in Taryn Simon’s The Innocents, reflects on what he sees 20 years later when he looks at a photo in which he’s featured. Johnson, who was an inaugural member of the Innocence Project’s board of directors, served 16 years of a life sentence in Georgia for a crime he did not commit before he was exonerated.

Marissa Alper

Christopher Ochoa – whose photo and case history are presented in Taryn Simon's The Innocents, reflects on what he sees 20 years later when he looks at a photo in which he’s featured. Ochoa served 12 years of a life sentence in Texas for a crime he did not commit before he was exonerated.

Marissa Alper

Tyra Patterson reflects on the personal significance of a sculpture that was featured in Taryn Simon’s The Innocents along with art by Patterson and an essay by professor and curator Nicole R. Fleetwood based on a conversation with Patterson. Patterson served 23 years of a 45-to-life sentence in Ohio for a crime she did not commit before she was released.

Marissa Alper

Herman Atkins Sr., whose photos and case history are presented in Taryn Simon’s The Innocents, reflects on what he sees 20 years later when he looks at a photo in which he’s featured. Atkins served 11.5 years of a 45-year sentence in California for a crime he did not commit before he was exonerated.

Marissa Alper