Ben Davis on the Shifting Lens of Photography at ICP's 50th Anniversary Exhibition

Posted on Feb 6, 2024

Critic Ben Davis reflects on the International Center of Photography's exhibition "ICP at 50: From the Collection, 1845-2019," curated by Elisabeth Sherman, as a journey through the evolving relationship between art and photography. Davis explores the shifting definitions of photography as an art form, noting Cindy Sherman's transition from being categorized outside of photography to a central figure in its history. He delves into the museum's narrative, which spans from the medium's early experiments to its contemporary manifestations, highlighting a transition from traditional "photographers" to artists engaged in "lens-based practices." Davis contemplates the challenges faced by institutions like ICP in defining their mission amidst a changing landscape where digital media and blurred artistic boundaries complicate categorization. Ultimately, he invites viewers to engage with the exhibition's rich collection while pondering the ever-shifting nature of photography as an art form.

Read the full review of the show here!


Weegee, Peter Bull as Russian Ambassador Alexi de Sadesky on the set of "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.” International Center of Photography, Bequest of Wilma Wilcox, 1993 © Getty Images / International Center of Photography


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