reviews

Zoe Leonard, Strange Fruit, 1992–97, orange, banana, grapefruit, lemon, and avocado peels; thread, zippers, buttons, sinew, needles, plastic, wire, stickers, fabric, trim wax. Installation view. Photo: Ron Amstutz.

Zoe Leonard

Whitney Museum of American Art

Zoe Leonard, Strange Fruit, 1992–97, orange, banana, grapefruit, lemon, and avocado peels; thread, zippers, buttons, sinew, needles, plastic, wire, stickers, fabric, trim wax. Installation view. Photo: Ron Amstutz.

THE TITLE of Zoe Leonard’s exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, “Survey,” immediately positions both her practice and this presentation as elusive and defiant. Even the word itself freely slips between noun and verb. Organized by Bennett Simpson with Rebecca Matalon of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and debuting at the Whitney under the guidance of Elisabeth Sherman, the show is billed as the “first large-scale overview of the artist’s work in an American museum.” In both its austerity and its refusal of chronological order, the installation suggests that this is not a retrospective, which of course it still seems to be. “Survey” begins with aerial photographs Leonard made in the late 1980s and moves through decades of her work, ending with several rephotographed family snapshots from In the Wake, 2015–16; a sumptuous catalogue details the arc of her

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