Zoe Leonard: Survey

Mar 2–June 10, 2018

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: Survey is organized by The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

In New York, generous support is provided by Fotene Demoulas and Tom Coté, the Jon and Mary Shirley Foundation, Diane and Adam E. Max, The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, and Leah and Michael Weisberg.

Additional support is provided by Suzanne and Bob Cochran, The Cowles Charitable Trust, Susan and Arthur Fleischer, and Ellen and Steve Susman.


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In the News

“For this artist, time — ductile and emotionally loaded — seems as important a medium as photography or sculpture.”
The New York Times

“The spare and thoughtful installation packs a powerful punch.”
The Art Newspaper

“Leonard’s achievement is indubitable.”
The Washington Post

“Ms. Leonard conveys her passionate convictions through expressive, visually arresting images.”
The Wall Street Journal

“A powerful survey.”
The New Yorker

“In an era of endless distraction, Leonard’s work demands that you pay attention.”

“The hallmark of her artworks is the poetic observations of daily life imbued with rigorous and challenging attention to the politics and conditions of image making and display.”

“Zoe Leonard’s first major survey reveals a prophetic artist ahead of her time.”