International Center of Photography Opens Jan. 25


Another piece of the Essex Crossing mega-project is ready for its closeup. The International Center of Photography (ICP) will officially open its new 40,000 square foot museum and educational center on the Lower East Side next Saturday, Jan. 25.

On this day, ICP will be hosting a community open house at 79 Essex St., right across from the new Essex Market. For the past several years, the venerable institution’s school has been located uptown while its galleries were situated in a mostly underground space on the Bowery. At Essex Crossing, they’ll now be reunited. The center includes exhibition galleries, media labs, classrooms, darkrooms, an equipment room, and shooting studios, as well as a research library with more than 20,000 books, a gift shop and public event spaces. There will be a cafe featuring pastries and sandwiches from Café D’Avignon and La Colombe coffee.

Via a press release, ICP just announced its four opening exhibitions:

  • Tyler Mitchell: I Can Make You Feel Good—the photographer and filmmaker’s first US solo exhibition and the US premiere of several photographs, video, and installation works exploring new ways of interpreting Black identity today
  • CONTACT HIGH: A Visual History of Hip-Hop—a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how iconic portraits came to be through four decades of contact sheets from major photographers documenting the hip-hop movement
  • James Coupe: Warriors—a new series of moving image works that algorithmically categorize museum visitors and, using deepfake technology, inserts them into specific scenes from the 1979 cult classic film The Warriors
  • The Lower East Side: Selections from the ICP Collection—drawn from ICP’s rich holdings of mid-20th-century works, it examines the role of images in enduring narratives about the Lower East Side.

General admission for the museum is $16, although it’s free if you’re 18 or younger. Seniors (62 and Over), students (with valid ID), military and visitors with disabilities pay $12; SNAP/EBT card holders pay $3. On opening day, admission will be free from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. You can claim a timed entry ticket here.

ICP paid $29 million to purchase its new space at Essex Crossing.



Eleven Madison Park Team to Open Events Space at Essex Crossing

International Center of Photography at Essex Crossing. Rendering by Moso Studio.

International Center of Photography at Essex Crossing. Rendering by Moso Studio.

The acclaimed restaurateurs, Will Guidara and Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park, will be opening a private event space on the top floors of the International Center of Photography’s new museum. The announcement came yesterday from Delancey Street Associates, the developers of Essex Crossing. ICP is opening the museum on Essex Street in 2019 as part of the big Lower East Side project.

In addition to Eleven Madison Park, Guidara and Humm’s Make It Nice hospitality group runs the restaurants at The NoMad hotels in New York and Los Angeles. In a statement, Guidara said:

The opportunity to now create a space designed specifically to offer the best events possible is very exciting –and to do that in collaboration with the storied institution that is the International Center of Photography is particularly thrilling. We’re excited to welcome guests into the beautiful, new location and to host a variety of events there – from cocktail parties to formal sit-down dinners, weddings and more.

In October of last year, ICP announced it would be moving the institution’s museum and school to Essex Crossing. The museum will occupy a four-story building that runs straight through between Essex and Ludlow streets. ICP will also occupy two floors of 242 Broome St., an adjacent condo/commercial building.

Just yesterday, we reported that the Gutter, a Brooklyn-based bowling alley, will be taking a 17,000 square foot space in the basement of 242 Broome.


International Center of Photography Confirms Plans to Move Museum & School to Essex Crossing

International Center of Photography at Essex Crossing. Rendering by Moso Studio.

International Center of Photography at Essex Crossing. Rendering by Moso Studio.

Now it’s a done deal. Just a few days after sales contracts hit public records, the International Center of Photography (ICP) has confirmed it is moving both its museum and school to Essex Crossing.

ICP will become the cultural anchor of the large residential and commercial complex in the former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area. The 43-year-old institution has agreed to purchase two commercial condominium units, for a total of about 40,000 square feet at 242 Broome St. The facility will include a four-story museum space, which runs straight through between Essex and Ludlow Streets, as well as another 20,000 square feet on the first three fours of an adjoining residential tower.

ICP just moved into a $23.5 million gallery space at 250 Bowery last year. The school will relocate from its longtime home in Midtown. Both facilities will debut in 2019.

Rendering by Moso Studio

Rendering by Gensler.

In a statement, ICP Board President Jeffrey Rosen and Board Chair Caryl Englander said, “We are thrilled to be reuniting the ICP Museum and the ICP School under one roof. This is something towards which we’ve been working for nearly twenty years… It’s gratifying to bring this exciting goal to fruition.” ICP Executive Director Mark Lubell added, “Our Essex venue will continue to reinforce our ties with the vibrant Lower East Side arts community. It enables us to look forward to an exciting future for both ICP and the neighborhood as a whole.”

When the Essex Crossing project was first announced several years ago, the Warhol Museum in Philadelphia was planning to open an annex in the Ludlow Street gallery space. It backed out in 2015. Delancey Street Associates, the development consortium, has been working to find a new cultural tenant. ICP has been interested in the space for a long time, but needed to raise the necessary funds to make the move happen.

“Aligning our cultural goals with the Lower East Side’s burgeoning arts scene wasn’t a simple task,” said Paul Pariser, of Taconic Investment Partners. “We wanted to find a world-class institution, but also an organization that would be accessible to the community, from practicing artists to schoolchildren and their families. ICP will deliver that rare blend to the LES, and really help make Essex Crossing the beating cultural heart of the neighborhood.”

The building at 242 Broome St. also includes 55 condominium apartments and a 17,000 square foot bowling alley/entertainment complex called Splitsville Lanes. The residential portion of the building will open in 2018, along with three other Essex Crossing sites.  The building was designed by SHoP Architects. ICP has hired the design firm, Gensler, to work on the interior spaces.

ICP will continue to offer classes at its Midtown location until June of 2019. The school serves around 3500 students each year.

Essex Crossing is a collaboration among Taconic Investment Partners, BFC Partners and L+M Development Partners.


International Center of Photography Signs Contract For Essex Crossing Spaces

Original rendering of Essex Crossing/Warhol Museum space.

Original rendering of Essex Crossing/Warhol Museum space.

Construction crews are racing to finish the first phase of Essex Crossing next year. Hundreds of apartments, a 14-screen movie theater, an NYU ambulatory care center and a Trader Joe’s are all part of the huge development project. But one question still remains just a few months from opening day: Who will occupy a 15,000 square foot cultural space at 242 Broome St.?

During the past couple of years, the International Center of Photography (ICP) has been weighing whether to establish a new museum in the Essex Crossing complex, and whether to relocate its school from Midtown Manhattan. Now there’s a new clue about ICP’s intentions.  Commercial Observer reports:

The 43-year-old institution signed a contract to purchase two commercial condominium units—one retail unit and one community facility unit—in the base of the residential condo tower at 242 Broome Street, according to public records.

A check of the NYC Department of Finance database shows that ICP signed a contract for the condo units with Delancey Street Associates (the development consortium) on Oct. 3. A spokesperson for the development team declined to comment. Commercial Observer contacted ICP, but there was no response. There is, of course, a big difference between signing an agreement to purchase a property and actually acquiring the property. So it’s not a done deal yet.

ICP currently has a museum space at 250 Bowery. The institution has been looking  to move its school and administrative offices, currently located at 1114 Sixth Avenue. Back in January, ICP Executive Director Mark Lubell told us the move to Essex Crossing was dependent on the success of a capital campaign. At the time, he said he expected the board of directors to make a decision no later than the summer of this year.

The Essex Crossing museum space sits just to the north of a 14-story condo tower at 242 Broome St. There are four levels set aside for commercial space in the residential building. This past spring, Curbed toured the construction site. The real estate blog reported, “The cultural center will be separated from the main structure by what the architects call ‘Soho Stairs’—a long, vertical, continuous flight of stairs that can be used to access the different floors of the institution.”

The Essex Crossing cultural facility was originally going to be an annex of the Warhol Museum, but the Pittsburgh-based institution backed out of the project in 2015.

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).

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.


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