We recently sat down to shoot the breeze with New York City native son and current Executive Director of the International Center of Photography, Mark Robbins. Mark’s career as an artist and educator has been nothing short of extraordinary. He’s served as the first Curator of Architecture at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus (1993-1999), Director of Design for the National Endowment for the Arts (1999-2002) under both Clinton and Bush, and most recently Dean of the School of Architecture at Syracuse University. Mark Robbins is also author of the book “Households,” which uses photography to examine the ways in which people inhabit their environments. Unsurprisingly, we found Mark to be an insightful and erudite storyteller, able to conjure up incredible imagery of growing up with a post-Robert Moses Soho as his playground, illustrate why nostalgia sucks and go in deep on why the unexpected is a city’s greatest friend.
Podcast: Play in new window
Portrait of Mark Robbins by Craig LaCourt for On the Real. www.craiglacourt.com.
We took a trip over to the International Center for Photography to see the new exhibition, “Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life.” They’ve assembled a pretty stunning collection. Many of the photos address the horrendous brutality and cruelty of the segregated apartheid system, and these pictures are without question deeply stirring and upsetting.Although these images never fail to shock and outrage, what I personally found eye-opening about this particular exhibit were the photos and archival videos that depicted what daily life was like under apartheid. I’m talking about the day to day stuff that you don’t get in a history book or newspaper archive. These depict slice of life, getting-the-groceries, mundane happenings of every day existence but in the broader context of what was happening in South Africa at the time these images have a much richer and more complex resonance. It offers a glimmer of understanding how ordinary people of all colors lived, prayed, shopped, laughed, worked and died under a terrible and racist regime of government.
The ICP did an impressive job telling this story, and it’s a great facility in which to view it. It will be running through January 6th, 2013. Please go see it.