Zoe Crosher is an artist who works out of New York City. Most recently, she has been conceptually mapping and ‘pre-archiving’ L.A. and the troubled notion of the “West”, culminating in a solo exhibition of her Prospecting Palm Fronds work (bronzing fallen palm fronds collected from all around Los Angeles) at the Aspen Art Museum in 2017-2018. Her iterative and multi-faceted projects explore overlooked and forgotten histories, both real and manufactured, and concern the schism of photographic documentary—the interstice between the presumption and promise of truth and what that reality actually is. Crosher’s practice engages with this confusion, questioning the assumption of ‘The Real’, often collapsing and confusing fiction and reality. Performing the archive with a particular conceptual and readymade aesthetic and playing with misinformation, mis-captioning, rephotography, transience, and misremembering, she often blurs reality, image, material and disappearance, primarily in relation to obsolesce and forgotten (mainly female) figures.
Named a “prominent Los Angeles artist” by The New York Times, Crosher’s work is included in various international, private and museum collections including The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Palm Springs Museum, and the Pérez Art Museum Miami. In 2012, she took part in MoMA’s New Photography show, and in 2011 she was a recipient of the prestigious “Art Here and Now Award,” awarded by LACMA. From 2013-2015, Crosher collaborated with the Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND) on The Manifest Destiny Billboard Project, a series she initiated of artist-produced billboards and activations that unfolded all along the Interstate 10 Freeway, for which she received the 2015 Smithsonian Ingenuity of the Year Award. Numerous books have been published on her work, including one released in February 2016 by Hesse Press and a four-volume set by Aperture Ideas in 2011-2012. She is the founder of The Fainting Club and a fellow at the Royal Society of the Arts in London, was Associate/Assistant Editor of the journal Afterall, and has taught at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA. Crosher received an MFA from California Institute of Arts (CalArts) in 2001.
There is a defiant through-line in my work, even if it isn’t always clearly defined. It makes itself known gradually, over and through time, through ever evolving iterations and exhibitions – from bronzed sculptures of discarded palm fronds to photographing from inside hotel rooms around LAX to documenting various disappearances, staged and not, fictional and not, along the Pacific shore. From cross-country billboard unfolding group shows to decaying foliage installations (one day to be crystallized) to oversized Day for Night lightboxes to highway-based symphony soundtracks while consuming disappearing salt-infused art-inspired desserts. Often, it is about the Fantasy West, and how those dreams are often missed. Even Michelle duBois dreamt of going West – she went so far West, in fact, it became East… Falling through layered and confused identities, culled from extensive archives of misremembered ladies of forgotten nights and powerhouse ingenues of lost and erased Hollywood histories, unclear if real or not. Generally, there is always a series, multiples and multiple versions, and the projects take years to complete, beyond art-market time. It’s about the confusion and collapse of the photograph and the image, about insta before insta, of the selfie before selfies, of relentless self-documentation, of sheer numbers of images and their re-creations, highlighting obfuscation as identity. Ideas overlap and permeate throughout as the Imagiatic – always photographically inspired but not necessarily photographically realized, at the end of this Analog Moment.