Monday, March 12, 2007

Etc. Gallery Prague

Hey Friends, if you're in Prague, stop by to check out my show there. I heard the opening was a great success. Thanks so much to Christina Vassallo for hooking up this show and to Jiri for his patience with my lack of Czech.

Zoe Strauss, I-95 WORKS

Galerie ETC, Jaromírova 18, Praha 2
05.03.2007 - 29.03.2007 , opening 5.3.2007 19:00

Opening days mo-fri 10:00-18:00

etc. gallery
and Zoe Strauss
invites you to the opening of the exhibition
I-95 Works in Progress
on monday, March 5th from 7 p. m.
Exhibition opens from March 6th till March 29th
etc. galerie
Jaromírova 19
Nusle 128 00

Here's the text from the show by Christina...

Zoe Strauss’ art career began earnestly: she picked up a point-and-shoot camera when she was 30 years old and took pictures
of her South Philadelphia neighborhood. Every year since then she has displayed her photocopied prints on the concrete pillars of the I-95 highway and sold them for $5 each. After receiving a variety of prestigious grants and having a project room in
the 2006 Whitney Biennial, Zoe Strauss continues to sell her photocopied prints for $5. Her career and outlook on life remain
refreshingly earnest.
It is unnecessary—even impossible—to discuss Zoe Strauss’ work and identity separately. She is an artist, a documentarian,
an activist, a humanitarian, and a neighbor; these roles inform her art and are also affected by it. In late 2005 Strauss traveled
to the Gulf Coast to volunteer in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Not only did she document the human suffering that was prevalent in the vicinity through a series of hauntingly descriptive photographs, but she also gave her time and resources to those living in desperate circumstances. More recently, Strauss has found herself embroiled in a legal battle over a film that
was made about her artistic practice. As part of an educational summer project, a group of eight high school students were
selected by the Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art to help make a documentary about her. Presently the release of the film is being contested due to the students’ exposure to the graphic nature of Strauss’ photographs.
Strauss’ involvement with pressing social issues such as the US government’s lack of expedient relief for hurricane victims,
inner-city poverty, drug abuse, violence, her own freedom of speech, and a student’s right to artistic expression comprise
a major component of her artwork. Such issues are addressed explicitly in her photographs, as well as in her online journal
( Strauss’ process of capturing the contradictions of everyday life through a camera lens is
detailed in the extensive entries on her blog. It is clear that she has a genuine interest in her subjects for their photogenic
qualities and the universality of their situations.

Strauss’ art is constantly a work in progress. This exhibition, which contains printed and projected imagery, is the result of her
shooting images over the course of the past year for her annual public display. A slideshow is accompanied by photocopied
prints similar to the ones exhibited under I-95 in Philadelphia every May. She plans to continue the I-95 project through the rest of
her third decade and when she turns 40 she will start a large-scale public project in the form of billboards.
The photographs included in I-95 Works in Progress at Etc. Galerie attest to Strauss’ uncanny ability to ask strangers if she can take their picture, as well as the spontaneous and stirring results.


Zoe Strauss is a photography-based installation artist living in Philadelphia. Strauss uses her neighborhood as the backdrop
of most of her work. She spends time getting to know her subjects and often details her interactions with them on her blog.
Strauss is the director of the Philadelphia Public Art Project, whose mission is to make art more accessible to the public. In
2005 she received a Pew Fellowship and in 2006 contributed to the Whitney Biennial and had a one-woman exhibition at the
Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia.

Christina Vassallo is an art writer and curator based in New York City, where she is currently finishing her Masters in
Visual Arts Administration at New York University. Vassallo is also the director of ART&IDEA gallery, and has co-curated
exhibitions as ‘MatCh-Art’, a curatorial collaborative.

I—95 Works in Progress
Zoe Strauss
etc. gallery
05 03 2007
7 p.m.

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