Friday, November 21, 2008

AMERICA: We Love Having You Here

Opening tomorrow:

Zoe Strauss: AMERICA: We Love Having You Here
November 22, 2008 – January 10, 2009
Opening: November 22nd, 6 - 8pm

Silverstein Photography
535 West 24th Street
New York, NY 10011
P: 212-627-3930

(from the Silverstein Gallery press release):

Silverstein Photography is pleased to announce Zoe Strauss: AMERICA: We Love Having You Here, an exhibition featuring works from Strauss’ last eight years of photographing throughout the United States including her most recent excursions. Many of the images in the show are also featured in her forthcoming book of the same title.

No image more popularly depicts the artist’s creative process than the famed Hans Namuth portrait of Jackson Pollock at work on his signature drip paintings. The image showing Pollock lunging aggressively toward his canvas with paintbrush in hand revealed to the public for the first time that most private and mysterious of practices: the artist at work. In the years since this image was made, incalculable others of the same subject have appeared, but beside Namuth’s portrait of Pollock, none have more definitively represented the artist amidst their creative process. Despite Namuth’s revelatory portrait, artists’ working practices and the public’s perception thereof have remained clandestine, leaving only their end result in the public’s view and keeping hidden the progression of events out of which the art was created. By maintaining total transparency in her process, her work, and even the production of her exhibitions, Zoe Strauss not only reveals her every musing and tendency, she offers the viewer a deeply personal understanding of her process as an artist - integral to the comprehension of her work.

Strauss’ transparency has been an indispensable element in her method since her first installations built inside her home were opened to the public for viewing in 1997. Shortly thereafter, Strauss began what would become a ten-year project of displaying her works in the area below the I-95 highway in Philadelphia. Like all of her exhibitions, the ‘I-95’ project continues to involve extensive awareness of and communication with her audience. While in production for I-95 and all other projects, Strauss actively maintains a blog which among other things discloses the minutiae of her art-making practices, her choices in subject matter, her editing and printing processes, and most recently, the publishing of her first book, AMERICA (AMMO Books, 2008). By making public the details of an otherwise private practice of producing art and its related projects and events, Strauss asserts her working method as a part of the art being considered, allowing the audience to see the way the work is made as a fundamental component to its understanding.

Strauss’ choice in subject matter reveals much about her life and work as an artist as well. Having gotten her start photographing the same neighborhood in which she lives, Strauss has consistently “shot what she knows” and has maintained an extremely personable approach to her subjects. This steadfast openness has become a defining characteristic of Strauss’ work and has made her a natural candidate for the subject matter on which she continues to focus. From her earliest works on, Strauss has concentrated on the overlooked in America. Whether its overlooked citizens, environments, or the objects therein, Strauss has aimed her lens at those things we cannot or choose not to see. In her latest project, Strauss has taken her camera on the road in an attempt to create an apt portrait of the United States. Driving between various locations throughout the U.S., Strauss has photographed those neglected people and places among us, creating a likeness of this country largely dissimilar to what we think we already know.

Zoe Strauss’ work was included in the 2006 Whitney Biennial and has been exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art, the Centraal-Museum of Utrecht, and the Richard E. Peeler Art Center at DePauw University among others. In 2007, Strauss was named a USA Gund Fellow, Visual Arts.

For more information on the exhibition, please contact Elizabeth Shank at

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