Through May 22 at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, conceptual photographer Taryn Simon presents three bodies of work, only one of which involves radioactive material. Visitors will see images from an ongoing series in which eclectic items and scenes are shot against a black background, the resulting print mimicking the size of Kasimir Malevich’s “Black Square.” A second series, “Paperwork, and the Will of Capital” — concurrently on view at Gagosian Gallery in New York through March 26 — examines ornamental flowers incorporated into political ceremonies (Simon meticulously restages these floral set-ups in her studio). And lastly, the artist has begun a sculpture that will only officially be on view in 3015. It also shares the same size as Malevich’s abstract masterpiece, with one crucial difference: Simon’s work is made of nuclear material. Despite the extremely volatile medium involved, the artist says that Garage was “oddly game for it. We all entertained this dream, knowing it was just that... and then, after years of correspondence, it became actual.” I spoke with her about succulents and Earth’s potential giant-rat future.Can you recall the first time you encountered Malevich’s “Black Square”? At what point did you feel deeply enough about that work to use it for an ongoing series of photographs?I was more interested in its history of disappearance and appearance over time and the different local and global narratives it has been weaved into along the way. Also its mark as a break from recognizable and religious iconography to an abstract one: This great nothing.Did last year’s bombshell regarding the racist joke hidden underneath one version of the painting affect how you thought about the work?The nothing just became the big something. The discourse and interpretations surrounding the form and color of “Black Square” were central to my interests, and now it takes on a whole new dimension.The show’s title, “Action Research: The Stagecraft of Power,” seems particularly... loaded, in the Russian context. Yes. It acknowledges the ways in which language is used in these arenas of code, command, and determinations. “Paperwork, and the Will of Capital” involves the recreation and photographing of ceremonial bouquets presented as ornamentation for the signing of important political documents. In your research into these floral arrangements, what did you discover about this peculiar form of pomp and circumstance? Did you itemize many differences between nations, for instance?There are noticeable shifts. You can see a socialist gesture in the plain palms jammed into a vase to accompany a deal in which Chavez and Castro trade oil for human capital. Or, the succulents used to accompany a meeting between Ronald Reagan and the mujahideen, presumably selected to make the mujahideen feel more at home. Or the celebratory innocence of pastel gladiolas to accompany a nuclear fuel agreement between Iran and Russia. Your sculptural cube of nuclear material will be “safe” for exhibition in 3015. How confident are you that human life on earth will still exist by then?This project exists in a space that doesn’t operate through a logic we know or author. Everything is murky and incomprehensible, including the estimated half life. Who knows if we will even be here, or if the English-language my letter to the future is written in will survive and be decipherable. Earth may be inhabited by very large rats.