Spotlight: 16 Photographers Capture Moments of Romance and Heartbreak in This Mixtape-Inspired Museum Exhibition

Catch "Love Songs: Photography and Intimacy" in its final weeks this summer at the International Center of Photography.

Clifford Prince King, Conditions (2018). © Clifford Prince King, Courtesy STARS, Los Angeles.

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What You Need to Know: The International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York is currently presenting the tender group exhibition “Love Songs: Photography and Intimacy” on view through September 11, 2023. Featuring more than 250 works by 16 international artists, the show explores intimate relationships through the artists’ photographs and photographic projects. With images dated between 1952 and 2022, the juxtaposition of time periods, styles, and subject matter offers an unparalleled opportunity to delve into the complex ways artists, cultures, and eras explore notions of love. Artists with work represented include: Nobuyoshi Araki, Ergin Çavuşoğlu, Motoyuki Daifu, Fouad Elkoury, Aikaterini Gegisian, Nan Goldin, René Groebli, Hervé Guibert, Sheree Hovsepian, Clifford Prince King, Leigh Ledare, Lin Zhipeng (No. 223), Sally Mann, RongRong&inri, Collier Schorr, and Karla Hiraldo Voleau.

Why We Like It: Intimacy, love, and relationships—and the myriad facets of each—offer perennial inspirations for artists. The inherent subjectivity of these themes allows for a deeply personal and nuanced exploration on both the part of the artist as well as the viewer, and the wide-ranging “Love Songs” exhibition at the ICP traces the indexical nature of emotions and internal worlds through photography. With works dating from across the better part of 70 years, an intriguing thread is brought to light through the similarities and deviations love and intimacy are addressed through visual means across time. From René Groebli’s image from “The Eye of Love” (1952), which relies on the index of lovers formerly present, to the multilayered work of Aikaterini Gegisian, whose composite compositions lend themselves to symbolic and metaphorical readings. Together, the hundreds of works featured in “Love Letters” are a testament to the collective humanity that can be found through intimate relationships.

According to the ICP: “This summer, ICP will turn over the entirety of our exhibition spaces to powerful, intergenerational stories of love in the exhibition ‘Love Songs: Photography and Intimacy.’ This major exhibition offers a unique viewpoint into how relationships are photographed and present images of intimacy rarely represented in photographic history with such openness and directness. We look forward to welcoming audiences to explore and connect with ‘Love Songs,’ which is an international collaboration with our friends at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP), Paris, and curator Sara Raza, who remixed the international show at ICP.”—David E. Little, executive director of the International Center of Photography.

See featured works from the exhibition below.

Aikaterini Gegisian, Handbook of the Spontaneous Other (Yellow 5) (2019). © Aikaterini Gegisian.

René Groebli, from “The Eye of Love” (1952). Collection of MEP, Paris. © René Groebli,. Courtesy of Galerie Esther Woerdehoff.

Hervé Guibert, Sienne (1979). Collection MEP, Paris. © Christine Guibert. Courtesy of Les Douches la Galerie, Paris.

Leigh Ledare, Diptych from the series “Double Bind” (2010). © Leigh Ledare.

RongRong&intri, from “Personal Letters” (2000). © RongRong&inri.

Love Songs: Photography and Intimacy” is on view at the International Center of Photography, New York, through September 11, 2023.


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