New York, NY - On November 5, 2008, Dia Art Foundation opens Derrotero, a project by New York-based artist Zoe Leonard, the second in a series of contemporary art exhibitions commissioned by Dia for The Hispanic Society of America. Derrotero-taken from the Spanish word for itinerary, ship’s route, diary of a journey, or collection of sea charts-reflects Leonard’s interest in mapping and navigation. For this two-part presentation, which remains on view through April 12, 2009, Leonard has contextualized her monumental photographic work Analogue (1998-2007) with a selection of portolans and atlases from the Hispanic Society’s exceptional library.
Analogue consists of approximately four hundred photographs shot on a vintage 1940s Rolleiflex camera over a span of nearly ten years. The earliest images, of storefronts, shop-window displays, and a variety of consumer goods, were taken on the gentrifying streets of the Lower East Side, where Leonard had a studio; she later explored other rapidly changing neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn, continuing to document disappearing and displaced urban fixtures. The project then expanded in scope as Leonard concentrated on tracing the circulation of everyday commodities, particularly secondhand clothing, as they were sold and resold in far-flung destinations. The final compilation includes images captured in Mexico City, Mexico; Kampala, Uganda; and Warsaw, Poland.
Thus, a project that began as a visual probing of changing retail and commercial paradigms—recorded by a medium that itself was rapidly becoming obsolete—evolved into a larger examination of the economic and cultural trade that underlies today’s global markets. In a larger sense, Analogue may be read as a portrait of an era and a timely poetic reflection on a critical historical moment. It represents a personal response to newly established forms of transnational commerce by means of a singular method of charting its lineaments.
To date, Analogue has been presented in several forms: as a set of forty dye-transfer prints, as a book, and as an environmentally scaled installation. At the Hispanic Society, it will be presented in its installation version for the first time in New York in a display that comprises a mix of black-and-white and color 11" x 11" prints, arranged in grids—or chapters—of various sizes. This mode of display identifies subthemes within Analogue’s chapters while also revealing the multifaceted interconnections that sequence the different components. Framing and installation, both of which are fundamental to Leonard’s practice, serve to highlight the representational systems and constructions through which our environment is shaped and knowledge is produced.
Leonard’s photographs will be installed in the East Building Gallery of the former Museum of the American Indian at Audubon Terrace. Closed to the public since 1994, the first floor of this Beaux-Arts building has been renovated by Dia, in collaboration with the Hispanic Society, for this and subsequent Dia installations.
A Route through the Collection
In adjacent galleries in the Hispanic Society’s Main Building, Leonard will tease out key aspects of Analogue by presenting a selection of rare maps and navigational charts dating back to the fifteenth century. To showcase the breadth of the Society’s collection, and to protect these fragile works, Leonard will rotate a second group of artifacts into the installation in February 2009. Used to define and construct terrain unknown to explorers, many of these cartographic devices foreshadow Leonard’s use of photography in Analogue.
Leonard’s exhibition is the second in a four-year partnership in which Dia presents commissions and projects by contemporary artists within the context of the Hispanic Society’s historical collection and buildings. The first exhibition, Francis Alÿs: Fabiola, which was shown at the Hispanic Society in 2007–2008, is on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art through January 4, 2009, and will travel to the National Portrait Gallery, London, in spring 2009
Related Zoe Leonard Exhibition at Dia:Beacon
Concurrent with the exhibition at the Hispanic Society, Dia presents a new work by Zoe Leonard, You see I am here after all, 2008, at Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries, through September 7, 2009. This work comprises 3,852 vintage postcards of Niagara Falls, dating from the early 1900s to the 1950s and sourced from flea markets and online auctions. In keeping with Dia’s tradition of producing exhibition-related publications, Leonard’s project at Dia:Beacon will be accompanied by a scholarly book, due to be published in 2009.
Zoe 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 solo presentations at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2007); Villa Arson, Nice, France (2007); Paula Cooper Gallery, New York City (2003); 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.
Dia’s program at The Hispanic Society of America is generously supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; New York City Councilmember Robert Jackson; Joshua Mack; Erica and Joseph Samuels; and Thea Westreich and Ethan Wagner.
The Hispanic Society of America
Founded in 1904, The Hispanic Society of America is dedicated to the presentation and study of Hispanic culture. The collection, which is unparalleled outside of the Iberian Peninsula, provides deep insight into the culture and art of Spain, as well as significant representation from Portugal and Latin America. Since 1908, the Society has been housed on Audubon Terrace, between 155 and 156 Streets in Manhattan, in the Beaux-Arts complex that includes buildings by architects Charles Pratt Huntington, Stanford White, and Cass Gilbert. Comprising both library and museum, the Society has a diverse collection of paintings, decorative arts, books, manuscripts, maps, prints, and photographs dating from the second millennium B.C. through the twentieth century, and is open to the public free of charge. For additional public information, visit www.hispanicsociety.org.
Dia Art Foundation
A nonprofit institution founded in 1974, Dia Art Foundation is internationally renowned for initiating, supporting, presenting, and preserving art projects. Dia presents public programs and its permanent collection of works from the 1960s through the present at Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries. In the fall of 2007 Dia initiated a partnership with The Hispanic Society of America, where Dia presents commissions and projects by contemporary artists within the Society's galleries while seeking a permanent home for these initiatives in New York City. Additionally, Dia maintains long-term, site-specific projects in the western United States, in New York City, and in Bridgehampton, Long Island. For additional public information, visit www.diaart.org.
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