The International Center of Photography (ICP) began welcoming visitors to its new four-story home at 79 Essex Street on Saturday. Designed by Gensler, the 40,000-square-foot institution reunites the school with the ICP’s museum, which has more than 200,000 prints and materials spanning the history of the photographic medium in its collection, and has been billed as the cultural anchor of Essex Crossing, the expansive new mixed-use development project in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

The building features more exhibition space than any of its previous locations; media labs; classrooms; darkrooms; a research library featuring over 22,000 books, artist files, and periodicals; an expanded shop; a new café; and a glass façade that will allow passersby to see the exhibitions from the street. In addition, ICP will have extended hours and free admission for visitors eighteen years of age and under.

Inaugurating the space are photographer Tyler Mitchell’s first solo show in the United States, which will explore Black identity; “CONTACT HIGH: A Visual History of Hip-Hop,” which will showcase four decades of contact sheets documenting hip-hop;“James Coupe: Warriors,” a new series of moving image works that insert museum visitors into scenes from the 1979 cult classic film The Warriors; and a presentation of mid-twentieth century works taken in the Lower East Side.

“ICP is entering an exciting new era as we launch our new integrated center and reunify our school and museum,” said Mark Lubell, ICP’s executive director. “We look forward to welcoming our Lower East Side neighbors and photography lovers from all over the world. We encourage everyone to experience all ICP has to offer, including our world-class exhibitions, our education programs at every level, our thought-provoking public programs, and activities for photo enthusiasts and families.”

The institution has moved four times since it was founded by Magnum photographer Cornell Capa to champion “concerned photography”—socially and politically-minded images—in 1974. The school relocated from Midtown Manhattan and the museum’s most recent location was in the Bowery.


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