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Zoe Leonard

IOLO CAREW, WEARING MY SLIP
1981/1990
gelatin silver print
24 x 18 inches
edition 3 of 12

Rather than any one subject or genre (landscape, portrait, still life, etc.), I was, and remain, interested in engaging a simultaneous questioning of both subject and vantage point, the relation between viewer and world — in short, subjectivity and how it informs our experience of the world. – Zoe Leonard

In this gritty black-and-white photograph, Leonard’s friend Iolo Carew bashfully turns away from the camera while wearing a woman’s slip. Though seemingly straightforward, the photo plays out a strange commentary on the subject’s awareness of the camera and the gaze of the photographer. Historically, artworks were the result of a male artist gazing at a female subject. Here, the artist (and her camera) gaze at a male subject dressed as a woman. The scene poses a number of questions about male and female power dynamics that occur when one is looked at and photographed. In the 1980s, Leonard was active in AIDS advocacy and queer politics, and she was an early member of ACT UP. Leonard has exhibited extensively since the late 1980s. Major solo exhibitions include Observation Point, Camden Arts Centre, London; Photographs, Fotomuseum Wintherthur (which travelled to Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; MuMOK – Museum Moderner Kunst Stifting Ludwig, Vienna; and Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich); You See I Am Here After All, Dia: Beacon; Derrotero, Dia at the Hispanic Society, New York; and Analogue, The Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, and Villa Arson, Nice. Her work has been included in Documenta IX and Documenta XII, as well as the 1993, 1997, and 2014 Whitney Biennials.

estimated retail value: $30,000

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courtesy of paula cooper gallery, new york
© zoe leonard
gallery website: www.paulacoopergallery.com