Photographer Zoe Strauss’ latest series is a grim check on American hopelessness.
Black mold lays on thick behind wallpaper at Trump’s foreclosed Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. A gaudy chandelier hangs as a false promise of the American dream. A hyper-contrasty photo of seagulls – shot in color, but starkly monochromatic – feels itchy, fleeting, almost paranoid – a metaphor for getting the f*ck out. Volleyed with photos of crashing waves, submerged roads and dismal beaches, these and other photos in Zoe Strauss’ latest exhibition Madison Avenue at New York City’s Andrea Meislin Projects depict The United States’ political, cultural and economic landscape as rapidly falling apart.
While Strauss’ earlier work focused on the often grim plight of working class Americans, often heavy with portraits of her friends and members of her community in Philadelphia, these new photographs show what’s been left behind. A sense of hopelessness – a wasteland without promise.
I spoke with Strauss about the work, her vision, and where we go from here.
Jon Feinstein in conversation with Zoe Strauss.