11.16/ ICP: Perpetual Revolution — The Image And Social Change, Opens Jan 27



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







The First of Three 2017 ICP Exhibitions Exploring the Impact of Photography and Visual Culture on Society

Designating 2017 as “The Year of Social Change,” the International Center of Photography (ICP)—the world’s leading institution dedicated to photography and visual culture—today announced its upcoming exhibition schedule, exploring the ways in which photography and visual culture impact social change. The first exhibition in this series, Perpetual Revolution: The Image and Social Change, opens on January 27, 2017.

Organized by ICP Curators Carol Squiers and Cynthia Young, and adjunct curators Joanna Lehan and Kalia Brooks, Perpetual Revolution: The Image and Social Change continues ICP’s long-standing tradition of exploring the social and historic impact of visual culture.
Perpetual Revolution will examine the relation between the overwhelming image world that confronts us, and the volatile, provocative, and often-violent world it mirrors. The 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 wasn’t for this revolution.


ICP’s ambitious exhibition presents five of these critical issues transformed by visual culture—#BlackLivesMatter, gender fluidity, climate change, terrorist propaganda, and the refugee crisis:

  • Black Lives (Have Always) Mattered explores the connection between virtual discourse and the physical effects of protest against institutional racism in the U.S. Curated by Kalia Brooks, this section includes images and videos that have helped propel the #BlackLivesMatter movement “from social media to the streets.” It strives to raise critical awareness about collective identification facilitated by the Internet and how that ultimately becomes part of the overarching way in which media depicts the Black body as catalyst for social, cultural, and political change.
  • The Fluidity of Gender explores how digital connectivity is fostering and evolving the representation of the gender-fluid constituencies online. Organized by Carol Squiers, in collaboration with Quito Ziegler, this section explores the queer and trans community’s range of creative, social, and political self-expression—in the form of projected, streamed, and printed photographs, films, and music videos.
  • Climate Changes presents still and moving images from a variety of makers and platforms, raising awareness of the threat of rising global temperatures and helping to sound the alarm bell about both the immediate and long-term consequences. Curated by Cynthia Young, this component of Perpetual Revolution also highlights the intersection of climate change with the other issues explored in the exhibition.
  • ISIS and the Terror of Images delves into the massive effort constructed by ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which is also known as ISIL or Daesh) to produce and distribute highly visual material to appeal to disaffected people around the globe. The section aims to study and demystify the activities of a powerful and violent political machine and its skillful use of propaganda, which blasts endless streams of photographs, videos, and texts across multiple online platforms. Organized by Squiers, in collaboration with Akshay Bhoan, it features photographs and videos, in English, Arabic, and other languages, arranged in thematic streams and displayed on cell phones, iPads, and monitors in the galleries.
  • The Flood: Refugees and Representation looks at how the instantaneous dissemination of images is affecting the global conversation about the European refugee crises. The chronic use of the word “flood” to characterize the mass migration from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and northern Africa to European countries imbues the event with fear and a sense of loss of control. What message do we get from the images of the crises? Curated by Joanna Lehan, the section explores this question through photographs made by photojournalists and artists as well as those made by refugees themselves.

“Perpetual Revolution features a range of still and moving images by activist artists, concerned videographers, and high-heeled choreographers,” says Carol Squiers, curator, ICP. “The seismic shifts within the photography and visual culture landscape since Cornell Capa founded ICP are undeniable. With our deep roots in photojournalism and documentary photography, it is important it show how the network has impacted these genres and immensely broadened the conversation.”

“Today, millions of people carry image-making devices in their pockets, photography is disseminated instantly and virally, and the media landscape grows larger and more complex to navigate,” says Mark Lubell, Executive Director of ICP. “Perpetual Revolution simultaneously underscores our commitment to exploring educational and historical imagery while acknowledging the game-changing impact that image-making and sharing are having in our modern day world.”


Rounding out the ICP Museum’s 2017 exhibition schedule are Magnum Manifesto (May 26– September 3), a celebration of the legendary Magnum photo agency, and a third exhibition (September 21–January 7, 2018) to be announced in the coming months.




The Perpetual Revolution curatorial team is led by ICP Curator Carol Squiers. Joining Squiers as exhibition co-organizers are ICP Curator Cynthia Young and adjunct curators Joanna Lehan and Kalia Brooks.

Squiers joined ICP in 2000, and has since organized several leading edge exhibitions, including Weird Beauty: Fashion Photography Now (2009); What Is a Photograph? (2014); and the five-part exhibition series Imaging the Future: The Intersection of Science, Technology, and Photography (2001–2004). Squiers also co-curated all four Triennial exhibitions.

Young is the curator of the Robert Capa Archive at ICP and organized the ICP exhibition We Went Back: Photographs from Europe 1933-1956 by Chim (2015). She is also the author of The Mexican Suitcase: The Rediscovered Spanish Civil War Negatives of Capa, Chim, and Taro.

Lehan is an editor, writer, and curator who co-organized three of ICP’s Triennial exhibitions alongside Squiers: Strangers (2003); Ecotopia (2006), and A Different Kind of Order (2013). She teaches in the ICP-Bard MFA program.

Brooks is a New York-based independent curator and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Photography and Imaging at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Bhoan is an artist and graduate of ICP’s General Studies in Photography program; Ziegler is an artist who has organized a wide range of exhibitions and collaborative projects and is a graduate of the ICP-Bard MFA program.


International Center of Photography / ICP

The International Center of Photography (ICP) is the world’s leading institution dedicated to photography and visual culture. Founded by Cornell Capa in 1974 to preserve the legacy of “concerned photography”—in which the reproduced image is both a catalyst and record of social change—ICP’s mission endures even as the medium and practices of socially engaged image-making have changed. Through our new museum, located at 250 Bowery, as well as our exhibitions, school, public programs, and community outreach, we offer an open forum for dialogue about the role images play in our culture. Since our founding, we have presented more than 700 exhibitions and offered thousands of classes, providing instruction at every level. ICP is a center where photographers and artists, students, and scholars can create and interpret the world of the image, exploring photography and visual culture as mediums of empowerment and as catalysts for wide-reaching social change. Learn more at icp.org




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