Who Gets to Tell a Love Story?

Daniel Felsenthal, Frieze, August 31, 2023

‘Love Songs: Photography and Intimacy’ deserves another name: love stories. The romance-focused group show at the International Center for Photography (ICP) includes work by Nobuyoshi Araki, Nan Goldin, Hervé Guibert, Sally Mann and 12 other photographers. It calls itself a ‘mixtape’, to quote the exhibition text. But, really, ‘Love Songs’ is more like a literary reading. Most of the photographic series are narrative. Some use large blocks of text as part of the artworks themselves. The photographs depict break-ups, illnesses, separations and death, each series with a distinct beginning, middle and end, or a sophisticated sense of the unresolvable. Meanwhile, works by queer artists hang in the background, a loose accompaniment to relentless tales of straight affairs.


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