Zoe Strauss

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Zoe Strauss
Born 1970
Philadelphia, USA
Nationality American
Field Photography
Website http://zoestrauss.blogspot.com/

Zoe Strauss (born 1970) is an American photographer.


Born in 1970 in Philadelphia and the first member of her immediate family to graduate from high school, Strauss was given a camera for her 30th birthday and started taking pictures of life in the city’s marginal neighborhoods.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] Strauss' humanist perspective and eye for composure make her one of "photography’s great naturals." [1]

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 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.[citation needed]

Between 2001 and 2011, Strauss’s photographic work culminated in a yearly “Under I-95” show which took place beneath the Interstate in South Philadelphia. She displayed her photographs on concrete pillars under the highway where she sold photocopied prints of her work for $5 each.[citation needed]

Strauss received a Seedling Award in photography from the Leeway Foundation in 2002, a Pew Fellowship in 2005, and in 2006 her work was included in the Whitney Biennial; she also mounted a solo exhibition[2] at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia. In 2007 Strauss was named a 2007 USA Gund Fellow and granted $50,000 by United States Artists, an arts advocacy foundation dedicated to the support and promotion of America's top living artists.[citation needed]

Strauss frequently shoots near her grandparents' former home at 16th and Susquehanna, and her mother lives a few blocks from Strauss' rowhouse (her father died when she was 5).[3]

Strauss’s photos of shuttered buildings, empty parking lots and vacant meeting halls illuminate South Philly neighborhood’s character, capturing the character of its residents. Strauss says her work is “a narrative about the beauty and difficulty of everyday life."[4]

Zoe Strauss is the author of America, published November 2008 by AMMO Books.[5]

In July 2012, Magnum Photos,[6] a photographic co-operative owned by its photographer-members, announced after its 65th annual general meeting in Arles that Strauss had been nominated for membership.[citation needed] Magnum Photos provides photographs to press, publishers, advertising, television, galleries, and museums across the world.

Grants and awards[edit]

  • 2007 USA Gund Fellow, Visual Arts
  • 2005 Pew Fellowship in the Arts
  • 2004 Arcadia University Works on Paper “Friends of Arcadia Award”
  • 2002 Leeway Emerging Artist grant

Solo exhibitions[edit]

  • 2012 Zoe Strauss: I-95: A Slideshow, Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York, NY [7]
  • 2010 Zoe Strauss: Works for Columbus, OH, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH [8]
  • 2010 Photographs by Zoe Strauss, Under I-95, Philadelphia, PA [9]
  • 2008 Zoe Strauss: Works in Progress, Peeler Art Center, Depauw University, Greencastle, IN [11]
  • 2007 IF YOU READING THIS, Silverstein Photography, New York, NY [12]
  • 2007 I-95 Works in Progress, Etc. Galerie, Prague, Czech Republic
  • 2006 Ramp Project, Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, PA [13]
  • 2006 Projected and Selected Images, Acuna-Hansen Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
  • 2001-2010 Under 95 exhibit, Front St. and Mifflin St., the 1st weekend of May annually, Philadelphia, PA
  • 2002-2009 Works-in-Progress exhibit, Southwark Community Center, last week of October annually, Philadelphia, PA

Group exhibitions[edit]

  • 2010 Queer Brighton: Molly Landreth & Zoe Strauss, BPB at Lighthouse, Brighton, UK [14]
  • 2009 On the Scene: Jason Lazarus, Wolfgang Plöger, Zoe Strauss, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL [15]
  • 2008 Who's Afraid of America?, Wonderland Art Space, Copenhagen, Dk [16]
  • 2008 L’Été photographique de Lectoure 2008, France 2007
  • 2008 History Keeps Me Awake at Night: A Genealogy of Wojnarowicz, PPOW Gallery, New York, NY
  • 2006 “This Is America,” Centraal Museum, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • 2006 Summer Vacation: Photographs from the Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA [17]
  • 2006 Whitney Biennial: Day for Night, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY [18]
  • 2004 Works on Paper, Arcadia University, Glenside, PA [19]
  • 2004 Big Nothing Cabaret, Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, PA
  • 2002 Leeway Award winners group show, Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, PA
  • 1997 Indianapolis Installation Festival, Whirlforce Medical Research Laboratories, Indianapolis, IN, Juried Exhibition, 3rd in show


  • 2008 World Class Boxing, (Art Miami)
  • 2007 Philadelphia Eagles/Lincoln Financial Field, vinyl print of Mattress Flip
  • 2004-2005 St. James collection, 200 photos

Public collections[edit]

  • The Philadelphia Museum of Art


  • 2012 Jean Dykstra, "This American Life" Art in America, March 2012. Karen Rosenberg, "Philadelphia Stories" New York Times, January 13, 2012.
  • 2007 Roberta Smith, The New York Times review, June 8, 2007. The New Yorker review, June 11 & 18, 2007. The Village Voice review, June 13 – 19, 2007
  • 2006 Jean Dykstra, “Out From the Underpass: The Photos of Zoe Strauss” Art On Paper, Sept/Oct 2006. Brian O'Connor, “One to Watch: Zoe Strauss" Photo District News EDU, Fall/Winter 2006. Public Space Issue 1, Cover Photograph. Interview with Katherine Ware, Exposure magazine, Spring 2006. Roberta Fallon, “Ode de Cologne,” Philadelphia Weekly, May 17, 2006, Arts Feature. Roberta Fallon, “Just Whitney,” Philadelphia Weekly, March 29, 2006, Arts Feature. Edward J. Sozanski, " A Noisy Biennial at the Whitney," Philadelphia Inquirer, March 12, 2006, H1. Matt Schwartz, “Local Talent, Zoe Strauss,” Philadelphia Magazine, March 2006. Karen Heller, “Self-educated Photographer Wins Acclaim,” Philadelphia Inquirer, Feb. 15, 2006, A1, front page feature with online slide show
  • 2005 A.D. Amorosi, “Public Worker,” City Paper, December 15, 2005, Arts Feature

Roberta Fallon, “Candid Camera: South Philly photographer Zoe Strauss seeks out the forgotten," Philadelphia Weekly, April 20, 2005, Arts Feature

  • 2004 Adam Fifield, " Exhibit provides a new meaning for 'outsider art'," Philadelphia Inquirer, May 2, 2004, City and Region, B1. Edward J. Sozanski, " Taking images of the streets back to their birthplace," Philadelphia Inquirer, April 30, 2004, Weekend Section Cover, W25


External links[edit]