artist / participant
This exhibition presents Zoe Leonard’s Analogue—a landmark photographic project conceived over the course of a decade—which documents, in 412 color and black-and-white photographs, the eclipsed texture of 20th-century urban life as seen in little bodegas, mom-and-pop stores with decaying facades and quirky handwritten signs, and shop windows displaying a mixed assortment of products.
Shooting with a vintage 1940s Rolleiflex camera, a tool “left over from the mechanical age,” as Leonard puts it, the artist took her own neighborhood of New York’s Lower East Side as a point of departure. She then followed the global trade of recycled merchandise—used T-shirts, old-fashioned shoes, discarded Coke advertisements, the old technology of Kodak camera shops—to far-flung places in Eastern Europe, Africa, Cuba, and Mexico. Tapping the traditions of documentary and conceptual photography, Leonard’s project, which she developed during a residency at the Wexner Center in Columbus, Ohio, is positioned within the genealogy of the grand visual archives that extend from Eugène Atget’s Paris “then and now,” to August Sander’s Face of Our Time, to Bernd and Hilla Becher’s typologies of vernacular architecture. MoMA acquired Analogue in 2013 and is the only institution outside of Europe to own this exceptional photographic installation—presented here for the first time.
The exhibition is organized by Roxana Marcoci, Senior Curator, with Drew Sawyer, Beaumont and Nancy Newhall Curatorial Fellow, Department of Photography. The exhibition is made possible by The Modern Women’s Fund.