Zoe Strauss

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Zoe Strauss is committed to promoting art accessible to her community and facilitating social interactions through her photographs and installations. She concentrates on the overlooked America, aiming her lens at those things we cannot or choose not to see. Strauss describes her work as an epic narrative, juxtaposing the beauty and struggle that coincide in everyday life. In 2012 she completed her project “Under I-95,” a ten year long endeavor for which Strauss displayed photographs featuring downtrodden city dwellers, abandoned structures and bemusing signage, etc. by affixing them to the pilasters supporting the overpass of Interstate-95 in South Philadelphia. Her chosen subjects and scenes reflect the artist’s interest in confronting and depicting life in America as a visual abstraction as well as employing the camera as a self-reflexive tool.


Strauss was born in 1970 in Philadelphia and was the first of her immediate family to graduate from high school. A self-taught artist, she founded the Philadelphia Public Art Project in 1995 with the objective of exhibiting art in nontraditional venues. Strauss also keeps a personal blog, zoestrauss.blogspot.com, which records her artistic process, inspirations and often tells the stories behind her pictures. She has been the recipient of a USA Gund Fellowship, a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, an Arcadia Works on Paper Award and a Leeway Grant. Since joining Bruce Silverstein in 2007, she has had three major shows with the gallery.


Her work has been exhibited at the International Center of Photography, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Carnegie Museum of Art Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art; National Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; PPOW Gallery, New York; Wonderland Art Space, Copenhagen, and recently in a solo mid-career retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2012. In 2006, Strauss was selected for the Whitney Biennial.


Her work is included in numerous public and private collections worldwide. She has produced two books, America in 2008 and 10 Years in 2012. The artist lives and works in South Philadelphia.