Zoe Leonard

Biography of Zoe Leonard

A photographer surprisingly unconcerned with photographic technique, Zoe Leonard is interested in documenting the world around her in pictures, stating that "It's not so much about creating, or my imagination... It's more about responding." Perhaps her most ambitious project to date is Analogue, 1998-2009, where she photographs rundown storefronts around New York, travelling to far-flung corners of the globe—Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, amongst others—to continue her exploration of low end commerce and the destructive effects of corporate globalization.


Equally interested in a certain taxonomic, framing approach to art, Zoe Leonard's piece Survey, 2009-12, consists of over 6,000 found postcards depicting the Niagara Falls, organized in terms of which angle the shots were taken from and arranged in neat stacks on a table. Here Leonard takes the relics of contemporary popular culture and subjects them to an organizing principle that transforms them into art, becoming a study of society’s perspective on a popular site.


Born in 1961 in New York, Zoe Leonard has had significant solo shows at world-renowned institutions such as MoMA, New York, the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, and the Centre National de la Photographie, Paris. She is the 2014 winner of the Bucksbaum Award of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and her work featured in the 1993 and 1997 Whitney Biennials as well as in documenta 9 and 12. Leonard is also co-chair of Photography at Bard College.

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