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Zoe Strauss – Under the Freeway

Zoe Strauss is coming to the Benelux!

We’re not the only ones in love with the work of Zoe Strauss or moved by what it brings forward. For over a decade Zoe has been getting back the same sort of love she puts out, and her current exhibition testifies to this. The opening of her mid-career retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art looked more like a night club than a museum, and the energy spread across the city in the form of 50+ billboards advertising a love story, which is and isn’t hers. What began with an investigation of her environment has developed into a timeless tale of everywhere.

Since the show opened, she’s been working nonstop: keeping office hours at the museum and giving a steady stream of lectures and talks while slipping out here and there to continue other projects. On April 3rd she’ll arrive in Europe for exhibitions at Showroom Mama in Rotterdam (April 6 – June 23) and Harlan Levey Projects in Brussels (April 14 – June 3), as well as speaking engagements in Eindhoven (MU, April 6) and Enschede (21rozendaal, April 9).

Both exhibitions highlight her project I-95 as presented in the book ‘Highbrow, Lowbrow, Nobrow: Mousse.’

Born in Philadelphia, Strauss was given a camera for her 30th birthday and started taking pictures of life in the city’s marginal neighborhoods. She is a photo-based installation artist who uses Philadelphia as a primary setting and subject for her work. Out in the streets, Strauss typically photographs whatever strikes her interest, paying particular attention to the overlooked (or purposefully avoided) details of life.

In 1995, she started the Philadelphia Public Art Project, a one-woman organization whose mission is to give the citizens of Philadelphia access to art in their everyday lives. Strauss’s photographic work culminates in a yearly “Under I-95” show, which takes place beneath the Interstate highway in South Philadelphia. She displays her photographs on concrete pillars under the highway and sells photocopied prints of her work for $5 each. Strauss now calls the Philadelphia Public Art Project an “epic narrative” of her own neighborhood. “When I started shooting, it was as if somewhere hidden in my head I had been waiting for this,” she says.


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