Zoe Leonard at Paris Modern

Over 500 photos by New York artist Zoe Leonard —mostly black and white— are exhibited at Paris’ Musée d’Art Moderne with her “Al Rio/To the River” exhibition (until January 29, 2023)

The documentary style photos revisit the fraught “build a wall” Rio Grande area, which  sets the boundary between the United States and Mexico. Sans “Bressonian” decisive moments and migrant mothers à la Dorothea Lange, these documents are closer to the cool gaze of surveillance cameras obiquitous in borderlands.

With a “topographics” analog feeling —reminiscent of Robert Adams and Lewis Baltz— the photos portray the tension existing along the river between the natural world and human-built environments. As if Leonard is saying to us forget the headlines and just look…

For those not fortunate enough to be in Paris to see the photos, the exhibition is accompanied by a two-volume publication. The first features Leonard’s photographs, while the second, edited by Tim Johnson, is an anthology of writings from a remarkable group of international artists, journalists, poets and scholars.

Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, to January 29, 2023