Art of the Lens

The Photo Triennial at the ICP is the Daily Pic by Blake Gopnik

The Daily Pic: The ICP's latest triennial expands what cameras can do.

These are tight croppings from “Windows, Ponte City” and “Doors, Ponte City”, by Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse, now in the International Center of Photography’s latest triennial, which previewed today. Curators are calling the show “A Different Kind of Order” – referencing the collapsing verities of photographic art, and of the worlds it points to. The triennial gives an excellent overview of the vast range of “lens-based” work being made today, from “straight” views of people living with the world’s rising waters (by Gideon Mendel) to distinctly arty, hand-made objects that use photos as art supplies (by art-world regulars Wangechi Mutu and Huma Bhabha). In between are projects like “Ponte City”, which is based in photography’s ability to document the world but doesn’t simply take it for granted. Subotzky and Waterhouse made a close study of a residential tower in Johannesburg, designed for white South Africans under Apartheid but now occupied by the country’s majority, and they present their images as lightboxes that recreate, in miniature, the tower itself. Other standouts in the show include A.K. Burns (with reperformances of ultra-esoteric YouTube porn) and Rabih Mroue (whose video about death-by-sniper was a gem of the last Documenta).For a full visual survey of past Daily Pics visit