MOCA, LOS ANGELES, AND THE WHITNEY, NEW YORK, ARE ORGANIZING THE FIRST AMERICAN MUSEUM RETROSPECTIVE OF THE WORK OF ARTIST
AND ACTIVIST ZOE LEONARD (BORN IN 1961 IN NEW YORK, WHERE SHE LIVES AND WORKS TO THIS DAY). SIX PHOTOGRAPHS FROM HER SERIES “HUNTING PHOTOGRAPHS,” WILL BE INCLUDED.
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<span class="lieu">WHITNEY MUSEUM OF<br>AMERICAN ART / NEW YORK</span><br>
<span class="lieu">MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY<br>ART (MOCA) / LOS ANGELES</span>
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<span class="title">ZOE LEONARD</span><br>
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<span class="alinea"></span> Zoe Leonard’s work is rooted in her observation of her daily life and environment, coupled with a reflection on the impact of economic, urban,
and social policies and an analysis of the nature of photography as a medium.
<span class="alinea"></span> In the mid 1990s, several extended trips to remote parts of Alaska lastingly shaped Leonard’s interest in the connections between culture and nature: her
photographs of dead game from the series “Hunting Photographs” are evidence of this. Her photographs do not attempt to depict an idealized, picturesque landscape,
untouched by man; instead, it shows the complexity and violence inherent in man’s connection to nature.
<span class="alinea"></span> In 1998, Leonard began a long-term project, entitled “Analogue”: in this series of silver-emulsion prints (by then an obsolete medium, fallen into disuse), she
captured abandoned storefronts in New York, derelict buildings, and small stores threatened by gentrification and the invasion of large international brands.
Then, Leonard decided to continue her research in other parts of the world, retracing the path of commonly used objects from their production to their export, at times even including their recycling.
Her photographs point to the injustice and cruelty inherent in today’s market economy, the obscenity of mass consumption, and the unstoppable increase of social inequality.
<span class="alinea"></span> Leonard is very active politically, including in movements for LGBTQ rights and the combat against HIV/AIDS. The loss of several close friends, victims of the epidemic,
is at the source of her work <i>Strange Fruit</i> (1992–97) in which Leonard sewed orange, banana, and lemon peels together to create strange fruit or sinister dolls.
<span class="alinea"></span> In her photographs, her choice of framing and angles constitute subtle “windows”,<sup>1</sup> conveying her vantage point on the brutality of a haunted, deserted world, in
which victims are vulnerable and destitute, and underrepresented.
<span class="alinea"></span> Leonard’s work was shown at Palazzo Grassi as part of the exhibition “Voice of Images” in 2012 and at Punta della Dogana as part of “Slip of the Tongue” (2015–16).
<br>Set of six gelatin silver prints
1 — Molly Prentiss, “Zoe Leonard”, <i>Interview Magazine</i> (December 13, 2016).
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