|Zoe Strauss- Billboard Project|
Zoe Strauss : 10 Years Exhibition is a beautiful, heartfelt tribute of 10 long years of hard work hitting the streets of Philadelphia and several other cities mostly in America. I spent the weekend in Philadelphia and tried to see first hand, with camera et all what it was be like being Zoe documenting that work on display now@ The Philadelphia Museum of Art. Let me tell you folks...I am pretty crazy myself, had gone to places and areas that not many dare to go and be at...well , still do not know how Zoe managed to make that work. It takes more than will power and a strong desire. Not only there is a great sense of danger involved, most of the subject matter and narrative are enough to break your heart and send down a mayor spiral of depression. I am a strong person, had seen and lived some very hard visual situations ( like 9/11) but, the environment that this work was generated by Zoe only Zoe can do because in all honesty, I truly believe that she was hand picked by God to put it out there in our faces to see and have more compassion and consciousness for others.
The show is beautifully curated by Peter Barberie, The Brodsky Curator of Photographs, Alfred Stieglitz Center. The photographs are arranged at times in gropings in several different sizes creating a great sense of intimacy between the work and its viewer. Even though , I had been over the years extremely familiar with most of this body of work (own some of it) ,was able to get a different narrative and learn more details about the images and stories behind it. It is a real journey through the streets and the final effect of this clever curatorial effort is a very polished and sophisticated one , providing the best and highest tribute to the sujects of this body of work, which some of them are no longer around due life tragedies and even results of violent crimes. The photographes and its arrangement in the show, truly gives them a timeless and classic quality. The Museum catalog it is just as beautiful and a must have.
Some people are already wondering what or where Zoe will go from this body of work, ...to me it does not matter. I think she has arrived to stay .The social/ economic/race/class/ love /violence/danger /redemption/ message that this show brings about everyday people is a perfect tribute of the last 10 years right after 9/11 till now. I have high hopes that this show turns in to a travelling exhibition one and will resonate even more now being in such political and rather turbulent elections year.
Zoe needs to be commended for her work and more than anything for her everlasting love to'' The City of Brotherly Love'', Philadelphia. If you visit Philadelphia now from the wonderful billboard project to the Museum show, you will see, feel and be moved by Zoe's work and her amazing commitment to bring out the best of what some consider so little and what most tried always to look away pretending that, was never there. It is now right... '' In Your Face''
And in my opinion, if you ask me what should be next for Zoe, will suggest the Mayor of Philadelphia to honor her by handing over the key of the City of Philadelphia. I can't think of a better tribute and gift to someone who has devoted her work and most of her live to portray Philadelphia in the most heartfelt, unpretentious, sincere, real and loving way!
Can someone on Philly will get working on it right away please?
Love you Zoe!