Sunday, November 30, 2008

America Book Release Party and Book Signing: Recap Part 2!

Time to recap in full about the greatest book signing event in the history of the world. Thanks to Quaker City. Thanks to the party planning committee, Lynn Bloom and Savannah Roberts. Thanks to my mom. Thanks to my super interns... Donna Collins, Ashley Flynn and Maria.

There were many, many people I was happy to see. Some people who bought books should not have made the purchase, because I have books for them! Not to buy! To give to them! They get the books as a gift because I love them and am indebted to them. That means you Paula Marincola. And you John Powell.

While the unfortunate occurrence of books selling out happened, there was pizza and beer until the end of the night, and plenty of 5 dollar copies for sale and an ongoing slide show and an amazing playlist selected by Lynn Bloom. A highlight was "200 Years" from the Nashville soundtrack written by Henry Gibson. "We must be doing something right to last 200 years..."

Also, if an event is held and Alex Mechanick is in attendance, it is a great event. Alex, you are so super! I love you!

Thanks to Albert Yee for making these great photos...

Photos above by Albert Yee

America Book Release Party and Book Signing: Recap!

Thanks so, so much to everyone who came out. While everything was pretty spectacular, I did sell out of the books about 1/2 way through, which I hadn't anticipated since I brought 45 books... I'm really sorry if you didn't get a book. I'll get more books and will plan another signing at my studio before Hanukkah/Christmas/Solstice/Kwanzaa, not as glamorous but still great. I think I can have a signing on December 13 or 14 and maybe a day during that week, too.

Order a book beforehand and bring it!

Direct from AMMO...

America at AMMO

Or right from Amazon...

And at some point in the future, I hope to have a signing at The Wooden Shoe.


There are many people to thank...
Lynn Bloom
Savannah Roberts
Ilene Baker


I would like to give extra special thanks to the first people who came... Gina and Lauren Carbone. You are both beautiful and I'm so happy to know you guys. I think of Monique, with love, everyday.

And as an aside, Savannah and Gina know each other from the gym! How awesome is that?!? In many, many ways Philadelphia is a little city and that's how I love it.

Friday, November 28, 2008

America Book Release Party and Book Signing

Here's a great event happening tomorrow, the America Book Release Party and Book Signing! Please attend... You can bring a book, buy a book (cash only), or just come and hang out. I don't think I need to elaborate on how incredibly awesome this is going to be. And thanks to everyone who came out in NY, especially to my whole family. And extra special thanks to my brother, the great Cosmo Baker, who kept the party going an hour after the opening was done.



NOVEMBER 29, 2008


Quaker City String Band Clubhouse (2nd Floor)
1943 South 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19148

(Between Mifflin and McKean and directly across from Furness High School... the block magically turns from 2nd St into 3rd St on the block between Mifflin and McKean so just note that if you are taking 2nd St up, YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT STREET)

Book Signing- buy a book, cash only, or bring your book and I'll sign it. 5 dollar copies will be for sale as well, which make great Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza or Solstice presents. Come on!

This book signing will feature America by Zoe Strauss, a slide show, pizza from 2 St. Pizza and 2 kegs of Yuengling.

Please feel free to bring a dessert to share.


America at AMMO

Mapquest to Quaker City Clubhouse

Quaker City Stringband... Class, Pride, Committment

Golden Slippers as Performed by Quaker City Stringband

Bruce Silverstein Gallery

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving from the Philadelphia Public Art Project

A happy Thanksgiving to all. And this includes the lady LB use to work with who said, "I don't celebrate genocide." All right! Whether you're fighting the good fight or gorging on food, enjoy the day!

Major Drumstick!

A Greattttt Saturday Night!

Before you head over to Quaker City for the book signing blowout, check out the opening at Mew gallery this Saturday, from 5PM-9PM. Starring Katie Henry, James Ulmer and Kathryn Moran. Mew is at 906 Christian Street in Philadelphia, PA.
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Antoinette Conti Holding America

Books for the book signing have been delivered... and thanks to the Contis for taking the packages that came while I was picking up Lynn at work. Our UPS guy, Tom, hands everything right over to Al and Antoinette Conti if we're not home. Our letter carrier, Chris, will sometimes leave things at my mom's house a few blocks away.

Also, thanks to Antoinette Conti for a spectacular rendition of "Kung-Fu Fighting." Dickinson St. keeps it popping!

The Best Spot to Get a Signed Copy of America If You Can't Make the Quaker City Clubhouse Booksigning...

Head right to Photo-Eye!


America is now shipping from Barnes and Noble and should be in your hands soon if you ordered from them... and while Amazon said that it's shipping in December, it should actually be shipping sooner!

Robins Bookstore has sold out but Penn Book Center should still have some and Strand in NY has it in stock. Bindelstiff Books up in West Philly will be getting it in soon.

You can order it straight from AMMO... America at AMMO. And I'll have about 40 books at the book signing, which should be more than plenty! The book is 30 bucks, but believe me you, it's worth every penny.

Actually, apparently it's worth every penny plus 45 more dollars if it's signed... America (Hardcover) collectible

Bruce Silverstein Reopening Friday circa 2PM!

Bruce Silverstein Gallery will be closed until Friday because of some print discoloration issues. Again, I'm really sorry for the inconvenience if you were headed over, but this was a pretty significant issue, so thanks for your patience and consideration during this delay.

Also, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Heads Up!

Bruce Silverstein Gallery will be closed today and tomorrow to take care of the print discoloration issues... SO SORRY. Not to worry, the show will be up and going Saturday. I'm really sorry for the inconvenience if you were headed over, but the prints need to be PERFECT, so thanks for your patience and consideration during this delay.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Friends! Start buying! I can guarantee that you won't regret it. My prices are going up and up despite the recession. And I'm moving forward like a fucking freight train, so it's highly unlikely that I'll print this large again until the next exhibition. More later on this.

Good investment? Obviously, art by Zoe Strauss.

The New Yorker on America

NOVEMBER 24, 2008


The release of Zoe Strauss’s “America” this month coincides with a turn in American politics. Eight years ago, around the time when George Bush, Jr., became President, Strauss took up the camera for the first time, to create a photographic exhibition of her community in Philadelphia. It’s now an annual public exhibition that takes place under the I-95 highway and lasts three hours. At the end, the audience is free to rip the photographs from the pilasters and take them home. Strauss’s commitment to her community—both local and, more recently, national—speaks loudly in her work. In the last few years, Strauss has travelled across the country to places such as Las Vegas, Miami, Philadelphia, Biloxi, and the Muckleshoot Reservation, in the Pacific Northwest, yielding a comprehensive portrait of an America I knew existed but tended to forget. The people in this book may have come upon hard times, but their stance in front of the camera is one of composure and self-awareness. Strauss’s connection to her subjects runs deep, as evidenced by several emotional e-mail exchanges included in the book.

Through Strauss’s lens the American landscape is humorous, grand, and always a bit worn out. The photograph that made me laugh was of a girl gleefully sliding down a blow-up model of the Titanic; Strauss tells me that the deluxe version has an iceberg obstacle at the end. Then there are houses split down the middle yet still functioning, appliances in the desert used as shooting targets, and dilapidated signs that say “Pardon Our Dust” and “Together We Make Dreams Come True.” The narrative for this America is hopeful, perhaps something like “It wasn’t easy, but we’re O.K.”

You can see America for yourself from now until January 10th at the Bruce Silverstein gallery, in New York.

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By Zoe Strauss

Ad for one of the "Titanic Slide" configurations

Crazy Print Issues!

Up at Silverstein there's a problem with yellowing on some of the prints due to a crazy chemical reaction with the mounting... not to worry, they will be fixed asap but just putting out a heads up if you're headed over to the gallery tomorrow or Wednesday!

We Love Having You Here Opening Party Photos by Lynn Bloom

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A Great Recap of the America: WLHYH Opening

Thanks so much to the fabulous Ruben for his fabulous post about the opening... all the photos are great, well, Ruben is just so great. Before the opening Ruben and Susan Meiselas came in and Ruben introduced me to her, but I didn't catch her last name so, thankfully, I didn't act like a spaz. But then the minute they left someone was like, "That was Susan Meiselas," so I had to run after them to tell her what a huge fan I am of her work. Thank god I didn't know who she was or I would have been out of control. So great to meet you Susan... soy endeudado a usted.

Also, I was thrilled to see all the people pictured in Ruben's photos, Amy, Mike and Will "Party Boy" Steacy.


Cosmo Baker made the party pop off at the America: We Love Having You Here opening. My brother knows how to do it and goes on to be doing it and doing it and doing it well. A bunch of people asked me how to get in touch with him to get him in their mix... just go to his website and click on "contact."


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Cosmo Baker, aka Brother.

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Ilene Baker, aka Mother.

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The great Savannah Roberts, aka Sister, and me, her sister.

We Love Having You Here

Here's a little run down on what went into getting "We Love Having You Here" up and running.


In my original configuration of the show, the rounded wall on the left (with my name and show title on it) had "Titanic" as a wall mural covering the wall. "Titanic" ended up not going on that wall for aesthetic and budgetary reasons. I cooked up the show with no reasonable limits on budget and then shaved it down and reshaped it in relation to the economic depression setting in. While wide open money would be amazing, who the hell has endless money? Often I have a few working titles for a show to help me keep on point and one of the working titles for this show was "Songs For The Depression."

In the front on the right are "Woman at US/Mexico Border" and "Red White and Blue Gas Station." I had printed a few other things for that spot, but I really needed to see prints in the space to know what should go there, and it was these two without a doubt. Like with the last show, If You Reading This, I wanted the photos to create an open ended dialogue and to bounce off each other to create different narratives.


Here's the installation shot of the wall that faces the front windows and door. Titanic was a keystone in placing the images in this show and I knew it should be on one of the three walls that faces the street. The image behind "Titanic" is the side of a home in New Orleans with marks where the water held. There's a water mark at about 8 feet and one at about 6 feet, the water had receded about 2 feet and held for a while at 6 ft in the area where this house was.

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This is the full image.


There's so many reasons for this specific set up and that's all I'm saying.


As part of the installation in Gallery 1, I included a grouping of portraits which is something I've never done before and was a nervous wreck about it. While the format of how the photos are hung is familiar, the syntax of the photos was completely different for me. I'm really thrilled with how the front room worked out.


I had gone over and over and over which photo should face the door at this spot and had 3 in the running and had printed all for a decision. The middle room had been set up for months but I just didn't feel certain of the photo facing the front because I felt that the anxiety of the Presidential election was going to impact that choice. The day after the election Lynn Bloom and I were at Toys R Us getting a present and the cashier didn't ring up one of the 2 toys that we were getting and when I told her that she had missed one of the toys, she just gave it to us and said, "We've got to make a change, right? That's what he says!" Later that day I locked down "Together We Make Dreams Come True Is True" for that spot and upped the size to a 30x45 print.

I had really wanted "Together We Make Dreams Come True" for that spot because I wanted the continuum of Indiana from front to back. The North wall in Gallery 2 is the Terre Haute Penitentiary, the cloud image on the South wall in Gallery 2 was made flying over Indiana and "Together We Make Dreams Come True" was made within 2 miles of the Terre Haute Penitentiary.

Bruce Silverstein Gallery
Please don't miss the great, great show Unbreak My Heart at Pluto in Brooklyn, NY. Curated by the one and only Brent Burket.
A big part of the front room installation is the "living room" like set up of two chairs with tables and table lamps. Now, while there are many reasons for how and why gallery 1 is set up as it is, one of the reasons at the top is tremendously basic....people should be able to sit down and be comfortable.


Zoe Strauss' Siverstein show 2008 - sleeping guy

Photo above by the great David Kessler. Thanks so much for coming, my friend. The guy sleeping in the chair got up, milled around for a few minutes and then came back and fell asleep again. I couldn't have planned something that great.


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This is not a staged photo, this guy was actually sitting here and reading the paper he brought with him. Again, totally not staged.


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I'll see this lady at the SPE conference.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lynn Bloom: Patience and Generosity of a Saint

1. I came back to the hotel right after installing the last minute version of the slideshow and my lady had gone shopping at Century 21, the close-out department store, and had gotten me a whole outfit to wear to the opening. That's why I looked super cute and wasn't wearing my usual green t-shirt.

Of course, at the end of the night my mom pointed out that I forgotten to cut tags off and I had been wearing tags on the inside of my new shirt, a la "Cousin Minnie."

2. One time when I was crazy working on the book, Lynn Bloom came into the kitchen and I was picking up and biting into a whole rotisserie chicken we had just gotten at the Acme. As in picking up a whole chicken and biting into it.

Greatest Art Opening Ever

I don't think it's over-stating anything to say that last night's book signing and dance party was the greatest opening ever in the history of Chelsea.

I have too many people to thank in this one post, but I'm going at it right now and will keep it rolling through the next couple of days.

First, thanks to all who came out and who bought the book or bought prints. Thanks a million times over.

Special Thanks-

#1. Lynn Bloom, life-partner extraordinaire. None of the work I've produced would be possible without Ms. Bloom and she should probably share billing with me for the book and the shows. This summer will mark our 20th anniversary and through the course of our lives she has supported me in every way. Ladies and Gentlemen, there's no one who can top the greatness of Ms. Lynn Bloom. Thanks, baby.

#2. My Immediate Family- Ilene Baker, Cosmo Baker, Savannah Roberts. Power players, my friends, and I can't make a move without them.

#3. An additional shout out to my brother, Mr. Cosmo Baker who rocked the party last night and brought it all the way home. And to his "good bride" Ms. Sydney Peck-Strauss, Esq.

#4. What about my gallery? Bruce Silverstein Gallery. Right, that's good news with the incredibly supportive move of allowing me to use the space in a completely different way. Thanks to Bruce, Beth. Yvonne, Liam, Luis and all the interns. You are all super.

#5. My Extended Family- Aunt 333 Jane, Andrea, Justin, Christine, Jimmy, Deb, Jonah, Ruby, Liz, Angela, Elle, Shane, Manny, Sophie, Seth- through marriage, choice and chance.

#6. Dearest Interns- thanks, thanks and thanks to my intern and assistant Donna, who was a tremendous, tremendous help. And to Ashley, Masha and Laura (at home but still representing). Manny, at this point you have moved from intern area to family area in the thank yous.

#7. And thanks all the guys from my SVA class that came out. That was great. And the Whitney movers and shakers, past and present. Thanks to all my blog friends and the great photographers who came out and thanks to all people who came from Philadelphia. And Brent and Ruben and Mike.

More to follow.


Please send me photos if you took any!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

If you're headed to America: We Love Having You Here don't miss the slideshow in the back... it's the best one I've ever made. 300 photos and running 34 minutes until it loops... there's 120 new photos since the last configuration.

It includes the above photo that I made earlier today. I try to structure the slideshow so I can include one last minute photo and this was the perfect moment that I was looking for... it's looking down on the WTC site at "ground zero."

Friday, November 21, 2008

NOVEMBER 22, 2008: AMERICA: We Love Having You Here opening: New York, NY

Zoe Strauss: AMERICA: We Love Having You Here
November 22, 2008 – January 10, 2009

Book signing: 6 - 8pm
Books will be available for sale
Party!: 8-10pm starring DJ Cosmo, aka "brother"

Silverstein Photography
535 West 24th Street
New York, NY 10011
P: 212-627-3930

Silverstein Photography is pleased to announce Zoe Strauss: AMERICA: We Love Having You Here, an exhibition featuring works from Strauss’ last eight years of photographing throughout the United States including her most recent excursions. Many of the images in the show are also featured in her forthcoming book of the same title.

we love having you here_5443_1 web

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

America Update

Amazon says that America is shipping in early December, but AMMO said that it might be earlier. America is shipping direct from AMMO right now: America at AMMO

The best way to get a signed book is to come to a booksigning...

You can get it at the Philadelphia America Book SIgning on November 29th, 2008

November 29, 2008


Quaker City String Band Clubhouse
1943 South 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(Between Mifflin and McKean and directly across from Furness High School... the block magically turns from 2nd St into 3rd St on the block between Mifflin and McKean so just note that if you are taking 2nd St up, YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT STREET)


In New York, you can get it at Bruce Silverstein Gallery during the America: We Love Having You Here show

Zoe Strauss: AMERICA: We Love Having You Here
November 22, 2008 – January 10, 2009
Opening: November 22nd,

Book signing: 6 - 8pm
Books will be available for sale
Party!: 8-10pm starring DJ Cosmo, aka "brother"

Silverstein Photography
535 West 24th Street
New York, NY 10011
P: 212-627-3930


In Philadelphia you can get it at Robin's Books, 108 S. 13th St.


in the future you can order signed books from photoeye!
These 4 photos are in the small room at the gallery, the living room area, and although none are in America I felt strongly that they should be included in the installation of portraits. Each of these women have a kind of pride, defiance and beauty in relation to their bodies, specifically their breasts. These 4 were very important in the ordering of the photos.

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Judy showing reconstructed breast

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Ashley's grandmother double mastectomy

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Kelly Harper, rest in peace

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woman showing breast in Camden

We Love Having You Here Groupings

Van Deusen Blue

The walls of Bruce Silverstein Gallery are painted Van Deusen Blue, a historical color from Benjamin Moore.

"The vast majority of colors shown on Benjamin Moore & Co.'s Historical Color Collection cards are from the files of the National Park Service in Philadelphia, PA. These colors were obtained by stripping down through multiple layers of paint and then matching with Munsell designations. Penelope Hartshorne Batcheler, a historical architect with the National Park Service, and a specialist in historic paints, was the pioneer in analyzing and matching these colors."

I really felt I needed to go with a historical color AND a blue found in the wall murals... as well as a warm blue. I thought about it a lot and NAILED it with the color of the walls.

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Terre Haute Penitentiary

There are two facilities at the "Federal Correctional Complex Terre Haute": the "Federal Correctional Institution, Terre Haute" and the "United States Penitentiary, Terre Haute." USP Terre Haute is currently the home of the only death chamber for federal death penalty recipients in the United States, where they receive lethal injection.

Timothy McVeigh, convicted for his responsibility for the Oklahoma City bombing, was executed at FCC Terre Haute. He was the first prisoner executed by the U.S. Government since the moratorium on the death penalty was lifted in 1976.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008