The International Center of Photography opened the doors to its new home at 250 Bowery on June 23rd. This is the third home for the ICP since it was founded in 1974 by Cornell Capa, and it is its boldest one yet. With an expansive 90-foot glass-fronted public space looking out onto the street, it is hard to miss. ICP Executive Director Mark Lubell hopes that this frontage will provide easy accessibility for the passing public, with a “real two-way conversation with the street.” This incredible new space, just a stone’s throw from the New Museum, promises to bring photography back into the forefront of art conversations and serve as a landmark in the burgeoning downtown gallery scene.
Matching the ICP’s bold redesign is the institute’s decision to undergo a kind of rethinking of how it presents photography in relation to society’s ongoing digital revolution. Since the institute’s founding in 1974, there have been immense changes in how photographs are captured. For their first show in the new space, “Public, Private, Secret,” the ICP is addressing that issue head-on. The exhibition uses streaming images, videos, CCTV footage and photographs to examine privacy, surveillance, and images’ effects on self-identity. With mirrored walls backing many of the pieces, it is designed to make you reflect on “selfie culture” and how we perceive ourselves amidst images that are disturbing at times.
It is a fitting show for a gallery space that finds itself newly rebuilt in the dynamic landscape of the downtown arts scene, as the institute as a whole tries to reimagine what it means to be a photographer in today’s ever-streaming world. For more information about the ICP, including hours and admission prices, please visit their website here.