I had an opportunity to attend the curators’ talk at the ICP Museum tonight, covering the current exhibition: Perpetual Revolution: The Image and Social Change. This exhibition touches upon six critical, social issues; climate change, the refugee crisis, #BlackLivesMatter, terrorist propaganda, gender fluidity, as well as the 2016 Presidential Election and right-wing fringe. At today’s talk, eight curators explained each subject, how they selected visual images, and their strategy of displaying different media.
Organized by ICP Curators Carol Squiers and Cynthia Young, Assistant Curators Susan Carlson and Claartje van Dijk, along with adjunct curators Joanna Lehan and Kalia Brooks with assistance from Akshay Bhoan and Quito Ziegler, Perpetual Revolution: The Image and Social Change continues ICP’s long-standing tradition of exploring the social and historic impact of visual culture.
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.
Perpetual Revolution: The Image and Social Change presents six of these critical issues transformed by visual culture: #BlackLivesMatter, gender fluidity, climate change, terrorist propaganda, the right-wing fringe and the 2016 election, and the refugee crisis.
Jillian Steinhauer is the senior editor of Hyperallergic. She was the winner of the 2014 Best Arts Reporting Award from the U.S. chapter of the International Association of Art Critics and the 2016 art writer in residence at SPACES gallery. Her work has appeared in the Guardian, New Republic, Paris Review Daily, Los Angeles Review of Books, and other publications. She writes mainly about art and politics, but sometimes also about cats.
Cynthia Young is the Curator of the Robert Capa Archive at the International Center of Photography. She curated Capa in Color for ICP in 2014, now traveling in Europe and South America. Other recent ICP exhibitions include: We Went Back: Photographs from Europe 1933-1956 by Chim (with accompanying catalogue) in 2013, and The Mexican Suitcase: The Rediscovered Spanish Civil War Negatives of Capa, Chim, and Taro (and edited the award-winning catalogue) in 2010.
Carol Squiers is a writer and curator at the International Center of Photography in New York, where she has organized numerous exhibitions on a range of subjects, including contemporary art, fashion photography, documentary photography, and the intersection of science, technology, and photography. She has published extensively in periodicals, books, and catalogues. Her most recent book, What Is a Photograph? (Prestel, 2014), accompanied an exhibition of the same name. She teaches a curatorial studies class in the ICP-Bard MFA program.
Susan Carlson is an Assistant Curator, Collections at the International Center of Photography, where she works on exhibitions and collections projects. She co-curated Winning the White House: From Press Prints to Selfies (2016), and assisted on the traveling exhibition Roman Vishniac Rediscovered (2013) and the corresponding catalogue of ICP’s Roman Vishniac Archive (2015). She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Cinema and Media Studies from Carleton College and an MA in Modern Art: Critical and Curatorial Studies from Columbia University.
Claartje van Dijk is Assistant Curator, Collections, at the International Center of Photography, New York. In 2015, Claartje coordinated the exhibition: Hunt’s Three Ring Circus: American Groups Before 1950 with collector W.M. Hunt. She was the Curatorial Assistant for the traveling exhibition Twilight Visions: Surrealism, Photography, and Paris, a juror on the ICP faculty exhibition Stories in the Social Landscape, and a guest curator for On Democracy, at Newspace Center for Photography in Portland (Oregon). Claartje was on the nominating committee for the ICP Infinity Awards and she has reviewed portfolios for PowerHouse Books and the New York Times. At ICP, Claartje conducts research on the over 150,000 historical and contemporary photos and objects in the institution’s collection. She also manages, edits, and contributes to Fans in a Flashbulb, the ICP Collections blog. Claartje was previously the Management and PR Assistant at Museum Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder in Amsterdam. She studied art history and museum studies at the University of Amsterdam.
Joanna Lehan is an editor, writer, and curator who co-organized three of ICP’s Triennial exhibitions: Strangers (2003), Ecotopia (2006), and A Different Kind of Order (2013). She has edited books by artists Trevor Paglen, Hank Willis Thomas, and Thomas Ruff, among others, as well as contributed essays to several photographic monographs. She teaches in the ICP-Bard MFA program.
Kalia Brooks is a New York–based independent curator and writer. Brooks is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Photography and Imaging at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, a PhD Candidate in Aesthetics and Art Theory with the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts. She received her MA in Curatorial Practice from the California College of the Arts in 2006, and was a Helena Rubinstein Fellow in Critical Studies at the Whitney Independent Study Program 2007-08.
Quito Ziegler is an artist and curator with a radical imagination and an endless supply of sharpies who has been working at the intersection of art and community organizing for almost 20 years. They are a founding member of the WRRQ collective, whose projects include the collectively made movie Wild Ponies Dancing, and Arts in the Woods, an annual intergenerational retreat for queer artists who are surviving or have survived transience. Other collaborative art projects include Queer Planet, the Forest of the Future, and many moonlight beach parties. They drive around in a beloved van called the Pony. A long-term student of social movements, Ziegler has worked on and off for 15 years at the Open Society Foundations’ Documentary Photography Project, where they produced the Moving Walls exhibition. They have political roots in the Burmese democracy movement, the Minnesota Dream Act student movement, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, and the movement for trans liberation. They currently serve on the board of the Third Wave Fund, and recently helped curate the gender section of the ICP exhibition Perpetual Revolution: The Image and Social Change.
Erin Barnett, Director of Exhibitions and Collections, returned to ICP in 2016 after a brief hiatus. She had previously worked in ICP’s Exhibitions and Collections department for eleven years, where she organized, curated, and co-curated over 30 exhibitions and publications including The Loving Story: Photographs by Grey Villet, Hiroshima: Ground Zero 1945, President in Petticoats! Civil War Propaganda in Photographs, Take Me to the Water: Photographs of River Baptisms, and Munkacsi’s Lost Archive. Erin also conducted research on the collection, oversaw collection loans and rights and reproduction program, and co-taught an ICP-Bard MFA course on research methodologies and writing. She has also worked in the curatorial departments of the New Museum and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. An alumnae of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program’s curatorial program, Erin also holds an MA in the History of Art from the University of Kansas and a BA in Art History and East Asian Studies from Oberlin College.