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 Zoe Leonard  (1961 - )

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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: installation-floor based found objects, photography

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Amassing over 700 dolls in flea markets to create floor-based installation art, Zoe Leonard lined them up in various positions and invited the viewer to note the differences among them.  This major doll exhibition, "Mouth open, teeth showing, 2000" was held at a New York gallery in the fall, 2000.  Earlier she had created an installation, Strange Fruit of strewn orange, apple, and banana skins, reassembled and stitched together.

Born in New York City, Zoe Leonard is both a painter and photographer.  In 1997 in the Main Hall of Vienna Secession, she created an installation of groups of photographs she took between 1984 and 1997.  Subjects were poetry, landscapes, urban scenes, human anatomy, death, sexuality, beauty and femininity.

Addressing the "liberation of female sexuality and women's right to self-determination, she founded the group "Fierce Pussy" with two friends at the beginning of the 90's, which protested against the discrimination of homosexuals with the aide of posters and other activist measures in public spaces.  At this time, Zoe Leonard was also involved in the ACT-UP Movement (The Aids Coalition to Unleash Power) which fought the intolerance and indifference of the American government and society in the face of the AIDS threat."

In the late 1990s, Leonard went into a temporary personal retreat from the art world and
"created small, fragile objects from the dehydrated peels of oranges, avocados, grapefruits and bananas that serve as metaphors, not only for loss and death, but also for beauty and sexuality . . ."

Leonard was born in 1961 in Liberty, New York, and now lives and works in New York City.  She has exhibited internationally since 1990, including recent solo presentations at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2007); Villa Arson, Nice, France (2007); Center for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw (1999); Centre National de la Photographie, Paris (1998); Kunsthalle Basel (1997); and the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago (1993).

In 2007, Leonard was the subject of a 20-year career retrospective at the Kunstmuseum Winterthur, in Winterthur, Switzerland, which will travel to the Reina Sofía in Madrid in winter 2008.

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