Philly is in love with Zoe Strauss.
Strauss, a 41-year-old Philly-born photographer, has spent the past decade recording American life, in all its tragicomic complexity. And this weekend, the Philadelphia Museum of Art opens Zoe Strauss: 10 Years,
a highly anticipated retrospective of Strauss’ work, kicking off with a dance party (sold out) and continuing through April with Strauss holding office hours, workshops, and conversations with other artists.
Strauss’ subjects in Philadelphia and beyond are as real as people and places get. Her intimate images reveal moments that she hopes collectively “create an epic narrative that reflects the beauty and struggle of everyday life.”
Of late the press has been running wild with enthusiastic support for Strauss, her art, and this exhibit. This week's cover story of Philly Weekly tells the layered tale of Strauss’ iconic and well-loved “Mattress Flip" photograph
. The story of the image itself is a micro-version of Strauss’ artistic realm: fragility, beauty, and the often invisible interconnectivity of our daily lives. Adding to the love, Next American City
makes the important argument for “Why Zoe Strauss Matters
.” Both are must-reads.
The museum exhibit is also extending out into the streets of Philadelphia with The Billboard Project
with 54 billboards
city-wide sporting Strauss’ photographs. The installation feels something like a scattered, city-scale version of one of Strauss’ Under I-95
shows. It’s at once insurgent and playful, and it is an amazing public gift that encourages us to appreciate our city in all its grit and glory. Look closer, it is a beautiful thing.