The International Center for Photography, which I’ve written about before, showcases exhibitions that travel to and from venues worldwide. Because of this “traveling exhibition” feature, ICP’s exhibits are worldly and intermittent; since the photographs featured tour the world, they are viewed by people of all ages, ethnicities and nationalities. This makes it all the more impactful to get a glimpse as New York takes its turn.
At the ICP there is currently a traveling exhibition called The Mexican Suitcase, a collection gives the public a chance to experience rare images recovered from negatives from the Spanish Civil War. In 2007, three boxes of 4,500 35mm negatives considered lost since 1939 arrived at the ICP. The photographs were taken by three photographers, Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and Chim (David Seymour.) These men — who lived in Paris and worked in Spain — laid the foundation for modern war photography.
Their coverage of the Spanish Civil War is considered uniquely innovative and passionate — The New York Times has a great review of the exhibit for those that want to know a bit more. The article describes the lives and struggles of the artists and the story the exhibit tells of their lives and works. Described are the three boxes, “timeworn but intact,” a tattered telegram, notebooks, and many images of everyday Spanish life during the war. Here’s an excerpt:
This total immersion, made possible by increasingly hand-held cameras, generated huge numbers of images. And that’s what you get in this show: hundreds and hundreds of tiny pictures lined up edge to edge on contact sheets to create a display of a kind that museumgoers rarely encounter but that photographers see all the time: squint-inducing, unedited, in progress.
Another traveling exhibit, which unfortunately ended on July 31, is Capa in Color, a glimpse at the famous photojournalist’s colored photography, most of which captured life postwar. The exhibit showcased over 100 contemporary color prints that demonstrate how Capa adapted to color photography and a new postwar sensibility.
Seeing as the traveling exhibits inherently change up, it’s worth checking in every so often to see what’s featured. Some exhibits are only briefly showcased, while others, like the Mexican Suitcase, span four months or more. If you’re a photography enthusiast like me, there’s a good chance you’ll be delighted. After all, photography is an artform that documents a singular moment. It makes sense that exhibits would be transient, too.