New York–based artist Zoe Leonard (b. 1961) is among the most critically acclaimed artists of her generation. Over the past three decades, she has produced work in photography and sculpture that has been celebrated for its lyrical observations of daily life coupled with a rigorous, questioning attention to the politics and conditions of image making and display.
Zoe Leonard: Survey is the first large-scale overview of the artist’s work in an American museum. The exhibition looks across Leonard’s career to highlight her engagement with a range of themes, including the history of photography, gender and sexuality, loss and mourning, migration, displacement, and the urban landscape. More than it focuses on any particular subject, however, Leonard’s work slowly and reflectively calibrates vision and form. Using repetition, subtle changes of perspective, and shifts of scale, Leonard draws viewers into an awareness of the meanings behind otherwise familiar images or objects. A counter-example to the speed and disposability of image culture today, Leonard’s photographs, sculptures and installations ask the viewer to reengage with how we see.
The Whitney has a longstanding commitment to Leonard, who has been featured in three Biennials, was awarded the Bucksbaum Award for her contribution to the 2014 Biennial, and is significantly represented in the Museum’s collection.
Zoe Leonard: Survey is organized by Bennett Simpson, Senior Curator, with Rebecca Matalon, Curatorial Associate, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. The installation at the Whitney Museum is overseen by Elisabeth Sherman, Assistant Curator.Zoe Leonard, Niagara Falls no.4, 1986/1991, Gelatin silver print, 37 ¾ x 25 5/8 in. (95.9 x 65.1 cm). Courtesy of the artist.