Are there too many images in the world? Too many of the wrong kind? Too many that we don’t like or want or need? These feel like very contemporary questions, but they have a rich and fascinating history. A Trillion Sunsets: A Century of Image Overload takes a long look at our worries and compulsive fascination with the proliferation of photographic images.

In the 1920s, with the rapid increase in illustrated magazines and daily newspapers, commentators asked whether society could survive the visual inundation. Artists looked to mass-media imagery and archives of all kinds to rethink the world around them. 

The artists of Dada, surrealism, pop, situationism, conceptualism, and postmodernism were all, in different ways, horrified and mesmerized by the seemingly endless supply of images. They cast a critical eye over the clichés, stereotypes, and repetitive images, and looked to unearth alternative histories and counternarratives. From scrapbooks to internet memes, from collage and image appropriation to art made by algorithms, A Trillion Sunsets highlights unlikely parallels and connections across distinct decades.

 

Exhibitions Highlights

Click here to view select images from the exhibition

About the Curator

David Campany is a curator, writer, and managing director of programs at the International Center of Photography, New York. His books include On Photographs (2020), A Handful of Dust (2015), Art and Photography (2003), Jeff Wall: Picture for Women (2011), Walker Evans: The Magazine Work (2014), and Photography and Cinema (2008).

Image: Harry Callahan, Collages, ca. 1957. International Center of Photography, Gift of Louis F. Fox, 1980 (76.1980) © The Estate of Harry Callahan, courtesy Pace Gallery
 

 

Harry Callahan, Collages, ca. 1957. International Center of Photography, Gift of Louis F. Fox, 1980. © The Estate of Harry Callahan, courtesy Pace Gallery
Robert Capa, [Artist making collages, Paris], 1934-35. International Center of Photography, The Robert Capa and Cornell Capa Archive, Gift of Cornell and Edith Capa, 1992. © International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos
Sven Martson and John T. Hill, Martson Hill Editions, 2007. © 2021 Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Justine Kurland, Eleanor, 2021. © Justine Kurland, Courtesy the artist and Higher Pictures Generation
Hank Willis Thomas, But she has other important uses as well, 1944/2015, 2015. © Hank Willis Thomas. Courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
Nakeya Brown, Don't You Know Love When You See It, 20017. © Nakeya Brown, Courtesy the artist and Higher Pictures Generation
Robert Frank, Tattoo Parlor, 8th Avenue, New York City, 1958. International Center of Photography, Gift of Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz in honor of Philip S. Block, 2007. © Andrea Frank Foundation
Louise Lawler, Untitled (Gold Jackie), 1993. International Center of Photogtaphy: Gift of Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz in honor of Willis E. Hartshorn's 25th Anniversary at ICP, 2007. Courtesy the artist and Sprüth Magers

Special Thanks

Exhibitions at ICP are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.