Say "CHEESE!"

The ICP opens its first exhibition at a new SOM-designed center

Architecture Art East
90 feet of glass frontage invite people passing by (Courtesy SOM / © Saul Metnick)
90 feet of glass frontage invite people passing by (Courtesy SOM / © Saul Metnick)

Today, the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York City opens the doors of its new home at 250 Bowery. The ICP’s xpansive collection of photographic work include Zach Blas, Martine Syms, Natalie Bookchin, Cindy Sherman, Nan Goldin, and Andy Warhol

Now on display is Public, Private, Secret, an exhibition that “explores the concept of privacy in today’s society and examines how contemporary self-identity is tied to public visibility.” Internationally-based firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) designed the museum; the exhibition itself was designed by New York–based architecture firm common room and graphic designer Geoff Han.

The new ICP lobby features a temporary bookstore (currently occupied by Spaces Corners), a weekly poster wall of ICP’s School and Community Education projects, and a cafe, all of which aim to create a lively “village square” environment. Ninety feet of glass frontage help connect the interior to the streetscape.

The lobby is a communal space with a cafe, bookstore nook, and artworks (Courtesy SOM / © Saul Metnick)

The lobby is a communal space with a cafe, bookstore nook, and artworks (Courtesy SOM / © Saul Metnick)

The Public, Private, Secret exhibition space features a range of transparent and reflective materials and surfaces, echoing its conceptual focus on “self-identity.” Materials are exhibited on glass display boxes with aluminum frames. In an adjoining viewing area, visitors can watch additional video works from simple bleacher seating on the back wall.

Throughout the museum, the ceiling and duct work are left exposed and painted white; the structural columns are similarly sparse exposed concrete. SOM renovated the building with a minimalist approach, resulting in a space that is versatile and responds to “the spontaneity of the street,” as the firm says on their website.

“SOM gave us a space that advances ICP’s mission to serve as a forum for dialogue about photography and visual culture, and positions us to bring our exhibitions and programs to new, diverse audiences,” said ICP Executive Director Mark Lubell in a press release.

Public, Private, Secret, curated by Charlotte Cotton, Pauline Vermare, and Marina Chao, will be open until January 8, 2017.

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