On June 22, the International Center of Photography (ICP) unveiled its inaugural exhibition in its new home. “Public, Private, Secret” shares the intimacy of photography and visual culture with an exposure of ordinary and extraordinary people.
Charlotte Cotton, the first curator in residence, along with ICP Associate Curator Pauline Vermare and Assistant Curator Marina Chao, put together “Public, Private, Secret” over three galleries showing a range of historical and contemporary works by artists including Zach Blas, Martine Syms, Natalie Bookchin, Cindy Sherman, Nan Goldin, and Andy Warhol.
In the first gallery, viewers encounter mirrors that reflect on either side two films, Natalie Bookchin’s My Meds, from the “Testament” series (2009) and Martine Syms’ Lessons I-LXVIII (2014-2016) that play sequentially, each just under 10 minutes in length.
Around the corner of one film screen is a floor-to-ceiling collage that leads to the the basement. It is there, in the second gallery, that you’ll find a large collection of visual, audio, and video imagery that touches upon themes of communication. Many of the works combine text with images, some utilizing the prevalence of social media. Some of these include New In Town (2013) by Andrew Hammerand, What Makes Jackie Run? (1971) by Ron Galella, and New York Fashion Week Face Book (2016) by Patrick McMullan.
Behind a heavy curtain is the third gallery, screening a slideshow of still images by Phil Collins, Free Fotolab. It consists of a collection of undeveloped rolls of film the artist procured from voluntary individuals, showcasing beach days, father-daughter images, and daily life.
The new ICP museum was designed with an eye toward hospitality, particularly with its common room entrance designed by Geoff Han. Entering from the street, the glass facade of the museum offers an open view into the Han-designed spacious common room. A café serving small pastries and coffee rests against the right wall, parallel with the in residence bookstore, Spaces Corners from Pittsburgh, PA. A poster wall displays each week new artists’ works and projects from ICP’s School and Community Education.
Also on view in the inaugural show is “Real-Time Curation,” created by ICP’s New Media Narratives students alongside Mark Ghuneim. It is comprised of streams of real-time images and videos of individual portraits gathered from multiple social media platforms. For example “Celebrity Leaderboard” showcases a list of Twitter or Instagram handles of celebrities that have the most followers. Each name is either in green or red depending on their rise or fall among the list of leaders. Or “Morality Tales,” still images of individuals that have had actions recorded and digitally circulated both with and without intention. The consequences of these revelations for those individuals included denunciation through social media.
The new ICP museum is now open to the public and located at 250 Bowery in New York. “Public, Private, Secret” will run until January 2017.