Formidable African American Women Celebrated in Bowery Projection Series

Image by Cristi Jones.

Image by Cristi Jones.

Beginning tonight at dusk, the International Center of Photography will be featuring a compelling series of images, projected onto the windows of its museum at 250 Bowery.

The series is titled, “Indomitable: A Tribute to African American Women.” It was created by amateur photographer Cristi Jones and features her 5-year-old daughter. The project started in Washington State, where Cristi and Lola Jones live, to teach the girl about history and the civil rights movement during Black History Month.

The series recreates iconic photos, with Lola dressing up in tribute to female trailblazers, such as Rosa Parks, Shirley Chisholm, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison and Misty Copeland. The photos were posted on social media last month, attracting worldwide media attention. Now the Jones family gets its new York City moment at ICP.

You can see the photos on the Bowery all this week (through Sunday).

New ICP Exhibition Looks at Digital Images and Social Change

Sheila Pree Bright, #1960Now: Art + Intersection, 2015. © Sheila Pree Bright.

Sheila Pree Bright, #1960Now: Art + Intersection, 2015. © Sheila Pree Bright.

When the International Center of Photography moved its museum from Midtown to the Bowery last year, it also embarked on a mission to reinvent the institution for the digital age. The first exhibition, Public, Private, Secret, reflected this new bent. The second show (opening today), Perpetual Revolution: The Image & Social Change, is also aimed at our current digital culture.

The new exhibition is divided into six sections. They include: climate change, immigration, gender issues, racial tensions, global terrorism and the 2016 presidential election. More from ICP:

Today, viewers are barraged by seemingly endless streams of new kinds of media images on an unprecedented scale. Perpetual Revolution explores the relation between the overwhelming image world that confronts us, and the volatile, provocative, and often-violent social world it mirrors. This exhibition proposes that an ongoing revolution is taking place politically, socially, and technologically, and that new digital methods of image production, display, and distribution are simultaneously both reporting and producing social change. The epic social and political transformations of the last few years would not have happened with the speed and in such depth if it weren’t for the ever-expanding possibilities offered by this revolution.

The show will be up through May 7. The museum, located at 250 Bowery, is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. every day except Thursdays. On Thursdays it stays open until 9 p.m. and visitors may pay what they wish during evening hours. Regular adult admission is $14.  There are a number of public events tied to the exhibition, including a conversation with the curators on Feb. 8.

Mark Lubell, ICP’s executive director, was on hand for a press preview at the museum earlier this week. We did not miss the opportunity to ask him about the institution’s quest to find a new home for its photography school, which is currently located in Midtown. Lubell said the search goes on. Locations on the Bowery are under consideration.

It’s still possible ICP could lease space within Essex Crossing. A lot depends on ICP’s capital campaign to raise the necessary funds for a new campus. Lubell said a decision will likely be made no later than the summer of this year.

ICP and Bowery Mission Team Up For Neighborhood Collaboration

All photos courtesy of: International Center of Photography.

All photos courtesy of: International Center of Photography.

In the past week, the International Center of Photography (ICP) celebrated its first “neighborhood collaboration” with the Bowery Mission.

ICP moved its museum to 250 Bowery from Midtown over the summer. In relocating to the Lower East Side, the arts institution established a new program with a number of different organizations to offer introductory photo, writing and bookmaking workshops.

The most extensive collaboration yet culminated in an art show at ICP Dec. 6-11. The three-part workshop engaged 17 students who are involved in a variety of Bowery Mission programs. We attended the opening last Tuesday.

Jaime Schlesinger, an ICP educator, explained how the collaboration worked. “We chose the theme of empowerment and hope,” she said. For inspiration, the students visited, Public, Private, Secret: an exploration of privacy in visual culture, the current exhibition on view in ICP’s galleries. The second session was a still life shoot in which each student photographed an object that held special meaning for them. The students then paired up to create self portraits and made a trip to ICP’s campus in Midtown.

One of the students, Alice Williams, told us, “The workshop inspired me. It took my mind off of the things I was going through. It’s kind of like therapy: Putting together a collage, working with words, it’s a great way to express yourself.” Williams volunteered through her church at the Bowery Mission for 11 years, bringing food to the shelter every Sunday. Now, she needs a helping hand, and is glad the Bowery Mission and ICP welcomed her through their doors. “I was grateful for the opportunity,” she said.

ICP is also partnering with FEIT and the New Museum for the FEIT for New York Shoe Drive. You can read more about that here.

Bowery Mission President & CEO David P. Jones spoke at last week's art opening.

Bowery Mission President & CEO David P. Jones spoke at last week’s art opening.

Artist: Alice.

Artist: Alice.

Self portrait: Frank.

Self portrait: Frank.

Self portrait: Abimeil

Self portrait: Abimeil

Self portrait: Lola.

Self portrait: Lola.

Self portrait: Brenda.

Self portrait: Brenda.

International Center of Photography Opens at 250 Bowery on Thursday

International Center of Photography, 250 Bowery.

International Center of Photography, 250 Bowery. Images courtesy of ICP.

A venerable New York City cultural institution is just about ready to swing open the doors of its new home on the Lower East Side. The International Center of Photography (ICP) debuts an 11,000 square foot exhibition space at 250 Bowery on Thursday.

At the same time, ICP opens Public, Private, Secret, the organization’s first show in the new museum. Reporters were invited over to the galleries yesterday for a preview (we’ll have a separate story on the exhibition tomorrow). While there, we spoke with Mark Lubell, ICP’s executive director about the big move.

After relocating from Midtown, the organization is making a concerted effort to reinvent itself for the internet age. International Center of Photography was founded by Cornell Capa in 1974. The Bowery space includes a 90-foot wall of glass — looking from the street into a large public area. It includes a cafe, bookstore and an exhibition wall for temporary installations. There’s no admission fee for this front area.


At the time of its founding, Lubell noted, Capa envisioned the institution as a center for robust discussion and engagement. “It was a place for public debate and conversation,” he said, “about the big issues of the day. That’s what I really hope (happens here).” A lot has changed in the past 40 years. Today, armed with iphones, we’re all creators of images. ICP now calls itself ” the world’s leading institution dedicated to photography and visual culture.”

Lubell explained, “We should be having conversations about how we’re being affected by imagery — everything from politics to climate change to ISIS to Tinder. Images are driving society and that’s what I hope, that over the next few months and years, you’re going to see some real dynamic conversations that come out of (this space).”

“I want people to come here,” Lubell added, “even if they don’t go to the exhibition. Have a coffee. See what’s around. This space is going to change on a two-week basis… Every time you’re here, something different will be happening.”

ICP has formed several community partnerships to help fulfill its new vision. It will be offering introductory photography, writing and bookmaking workshops and hosting special programming on Thursday evenings, including book launches. “Community collaborators” include University Settlement, Grand Street Settlement, the Bowery Mission and the LES Girls Club.

Lubell looked at many locations in different neighborhoods before settling on 250 Bowery. “I don’t think I could have picked a better place,” said Lubell. As someone who was born and raised in New York, Lubell recalled the days in which “you didn’t come to the Bowery after dark.” Referring to the legendary district’s “regentrification,” he said, “there’s still an element of the old Bowery here and it’s sort of a mix (of old and new).” ICP is right across the street from the New Museum. Lubell is working hard to create a strong bond between the two organizations. “I love the relationship with the New Museum,” he explained. “There’s a conversation between both institutions.”

There’s also a bigger picture. New York’s cultural center of gravity is shifting downtown. The Lower East Side now boasts 125 galleries. At the same time, Lubell said, he likes the fact that the neighborhood is “still in transition” and he said, “I love the community that surrounds this area.”

ICP’s school is still located uptown and the institution’s expansive archives were moved to New Jersey. In the past, Lubell has said he eventually wants to bring the museum, school and archives together in one location on the Lower East Side. There have been hints that International Center of Photography could become a major tenant at Essex Crossing, the big mixed-used project now under construction.

Yesterday, Lubell described ICP’s future planning as, “still developing.” He added, “This idea of a center and trying to unify both parts of the organization is foremost in my mind, and so I’m looking to try to bring the school downtown.” As for Essex Crossing, Lubell said, “(the developers have) talked to a lot of different institutions. We’ve been one of them. We have talked with them about the school. We’re still talking.”

For the moment, though, the focus is on this week’s official opening of the Bowery space. ICP will be open Tuesday-Sunday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. On Thursday, the galleries will be open until 9 p.m. Admission is $14 for adults, $12 for seniors. Children under the age of $14 get in free when accompanied by an adult. On opening day, Thursday, admission will be free. Visit ICP’s website for more information.


International Center of Photography Opens June 23 With “Public, Private, Secret”

ICP's new home at 250 Bowery.

ICP’s new home at 250 Bowery.

Earlier this month, the International Center of Photography (ICP) announced a June 23 opening date for its new museum at 250 Bowery. Now we have more details about the opening exhibition. as well as new information about the space on the Lower East Side.

The exhibition, “Public, Private Secret,” is organized by Charlotte Cotton, the institution’s first-ever curator-in-residence, along with assistant curator Marino Chao. The show and accompanying programming will look at present day concepts of privacy and will explore, according to a press release, “how contemporary self-identity is tied to public visibility.”

Open through January 2017, the show will include works from artists such as  Zach Blas, Martine Syms, Natalie Bookchin, Cindy Sherman, Nan Goldin and Andy Warhol.

ICP’s new home will feature a ground-floor-glass-enclosed public space, visible from the street. The venue will be used for lectures, workshops and other events. It’s separated from the galleries, which require a ticket. The museum includes an area with photo books, curated by Spaces Corners, a cafe and a real-time surveillance “clock”  by graphic designer David Reinfurt. There’s also an exhibition wall for temporary installations.

The museum closed its Midtown location last year and purchased an 11,000 sq. ft. space at 250 Bowery. ICP is continuing to look for a new permanent home for its school somewhere downtown. The move is part of  big push by ICP to boost attendance and to participate more fully in New York’s popular culture.

ICP will open Tuesdays-Sundays from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., with extended hours on Thursday evenings until 9 p.m. Admission to exhibitions will be $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for students. Children 14 and under, accompanied by an adult, can enter for free.

See below for a few images from the exhibition.

Cindy Sherman

Artist: Cindy Sherman.

John Houck_hi

Artist: John Houck.


Artist: Merry Alpern.

Could International Center of Photography Be Coming to Essex Crossing?

Essex Crossing Site 6. Credit: Dattner Architects.

Essex Crossing Site 6. Credit: Dattner Architects.

The developers building the Essex Crossing project updated community members on their progress last night and answered questions regarding construction issues. We’ll have a full report later today. There’s one tidbit that we’ll share now, however, since there’s likely to be some rumormongering about it today.

In reviewing progress on Site 6, located at Broome and Attorney streets, a construction manager mentioned that one of three major commercial tenants would be the International Center of Photography (ICP). The development team quickly retracted the statement during the meeting. Later, Essex Crossing spokesman James Yolles reiterated that there’s no signed lease, telling us, “we have been in discussions with a number of organizations about the educational facility at site 6.”

The building at 175 Delancey St. will include 100 rental apartments for seniors, a 55,000 sq. ft. NYU Langone medical center and a senior center operated by Grand Street Settlement. There’s also 24,000 sq. ft. set aside for an educational facility. In its original plans, the development team was counting on a dual generation school from Educational Alliance, but that institution pulled out of the project.

Later this year, International Center of Photography will open a new exhibition space at 250 Bowery. ICP’s school is still in Midtown, but its lease expires in 2018. Executive Director Mark Lubell has suggested he’d like to find a Lower East Side location for the school.

The ICP rumors have actually been circulating for months. In an article about the future of the esteemed school this past fall, Art News floated the idea of an Essex Crossing move. The story included interviews with a number of key players at ICP:

“I think what they are doing right now (moving the museum to the Bowery) is an interim solution,” said a former board member on the condition of anonymity. “But that’s not the long-term solution because long-term it isn’t enough space to get the institution together.” Indeed, while 250 Bowery will provide exhibition space, there is no room for the school… Also, staff offices and the archive have now been moved to Mana Contemporary, a cultural center in Jersey City, where ICP has 15,000 additional square feet at an unnamed additional cost… Though Lubell did an admirable job raising over $20 million for the new building and renovation, that figure falls far short of the $100 million to $150 million estimated to be needed to find a space big enough for the school, archive, offices, and galleries. It is possible that Lubell might turn a profit by selling 250 Bowery and putting the revenue toward a bigger plan—something in the $1.1 billion Essex Crossing development planned for the Lower East Side, for example. (A Warhol Museum satellite was supposed to move into the space as its cultural component.)

The space on site 1 that was going to house the Warhol Museum is only 10,000 sq. ft., about the same size as ICP’s new Bowery location. Warhol backed out of the project in the middle of 2015.

While it’s possible ICP is looking at a major presence within Essex Crossing, the institution would need to be scattered across two or three sites. There is no single commercial space big enough for the museum, school, offices and archive. Stay tuned.


JR Helps International Center of Photography Create Buzz For Summer Opening

jr icp

The International Center of Photography (ICP) has launched a campaign to build excitement for its new gallery space at 250 Bowery. The Lower East Side’s newest arts organization is collaborating with JR, the French artist, for an installation on the facade of an adjacent building.

It’s a three-story recreation of a Robert Capa photograph depicting a woman peering out her door. The photo was made during the blitz of London in World War II.

In a press release, Mark Lubell, ICP’s executive director, said: “We invited French artist and Lower East Side resident JR to select an image from our Collection to paste in his signature style.” Speaking about his choice of photos, JR added, it offered “the right alchemy between the image and the architecture and a tribute to Capa, the heart and soul of ICP.”

ICP purchased an 11,000 square foot space on the ground floor of a luxury condo building for $23.5 million. A summer opening is anticipated.

International Center of Photography Pays $23.5 Million For Bowery Space