Zoe Strauss (b. 1970) is a self-taught photographer and installation artist. This exhibition at Bruce Silverstein gallery marks the culmination of Strauss’ I-95 project, a 10-year long endeavour for which Strauss displayed her photographs by affixing them to the pilasters supporting the flyover of Interstate-95 in South Philadelphia.
For a single day each May (from 2001-2010), Strauss revitalised and transformed a derelict and unused public space into a site for art, facilitating community and social interaction through her installation. At the end of the exhibition, the laminated installation photographs were free for the taking. As an artist, Strauss prioritises accessibility and she enthusiastically promotes discourse regarding her work and artistic process via her well-known and widely followed (invite-only) blog. She describes her work as an effort to create an “epic-narrative that reflects the beauty and struggle of everyday life.” While her chosen subjects and scenes of the American urban landscape can seem unflattering, troubling or blighted, they reflect the artist’s interest in confronting and depicting life in America – not in a manner of pure social journalism, but as a method of exploring her interests in visual abstraction as well as employing the camera as a self-reflexive tool. Strauss challenges the viewer to question his or her response to her depiction of our cultural climate via the signs, streets, shop fronts and portraits that comprise it.
Zoe Strauss: 10 Years: A Slideshow, 28/06/2012 until 03/08/2012, Bruce Silverstein Gallery, 535 W. 24th Street, New York, NY 10011. www.brucesilverstein.com
Copyright Zoe Strauss, Courtesy Bruce Silverstein Gallery.