And the winner of the Whitney Museum’s $100,000 Bucksbaum Award is…

…artist Zoe Leonard, whose giant camera obscura installation took the 2014 prize for best in the Biennial

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Photograph: Bill Jacobson Studio, New York


We're nearing the end of the 2014 Whitney Biennial—it's closing May 25—which means it's time for the museum to give out this year's Bucksbaum Award for best artist in the Biennial. It's the eighth time the honor has been bestowed in Biennial history, and the lucky winner is Zoe Leonard, for her giant camera obscura installation. She receives a check for $100,000 and a solo showcase at the Whitney before the next Biennial. Since the museum is shuttering its current location after the conclusion of its next event—the big Jeff Koons retrospective, on view June 27 through October 19—Leonard's exhibition will be located in the Whitney's new MePa digs.

But speaking of the soon-to-be-abandoned Marcel Breuer building, Leonard titled her piece 945 Madison Avenue after its address, and in certain respects, it's as much about the building as anything else. Taking advantage of an ancient optical principle that a ray of light entering through a small hole into a dark room will project an upside-down view of the outside world, Leonard covered one of the Whitney's distinctive "eyebrow" windows with a lens board, throwing a ghostly, inverted image of the street onto the walls, floor and ceiling of an unlit gallery. Though the Biennial is technically the penultimate show on Madison Avenue, Leonard's work is a fitting and poetic farewell to a neighborhood that's been a part of the Whitney's identity for nearly a half century.

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