For the last two decades, American artist Gillian Laub has used the camera to investigate how society’s most complex questions are often writ large in our most intimate relationships. Her focus on family, community and human rights is clear in projects such as Testimony (2007), which explores the lives of terror survivors in the Middle East, and Southern Rites (2015), a decade-long project about racism in the American South.
Throughout her career she has been simultaneously, and privately, documenting the emotional, psychological, and political landscape of her own family—exploring her growing discomfort with the many extravagances that marked their lives. Intense intergenerational bonds have shaped and nurtured Laub, but have also been fraught. Balancing empathy with critical perspective, humor with horror, the closeness of family with the distance of the artist, Laub offers a picture of an American family saga that feels both anguished and hopeful.
As it moves through time, the exhibition becomes a microcosm of a deeply conflicted nation, as the artist and her parents find themselves on opposing sides of a sharp political divide—threatening to fracture the family, and forcing everyone to ask what, in the end, really binds them together.
In her book Family Matters (Aperture, 2021), her photographs are accompanied by her own words. This exhibition showcases her gifts as a storyteller, with much of the writing presented as immersive sound. Moving through the four sequential “acts” of Family Matters, you will see and hear the artist and her family in their own words: funny, poignant, troubled, and challenging.
About the Artist
Gillian Laub, @gigilaub
Gillian Laub (b. 1975) is a photographer and filmmaker based in New York. She received a B.A. in comparative literature from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, before studying photography at the International Center of Photography. Laub has spent the last two decades investigating political conflicts, exploring family relationships, and challenging assumptions about cultural identity. Her works include the book Testimony (Aperture, 2007) and the book and HBO film Southern Rites (2015). Laub received a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in 2019. Her work is collected internationally and included in the public collections of the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, New Hampshire; International Center of Photography, New York; Jewish Museum, New York; and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, among other institutions. She continues to contribute to many publications, including The New York Times Magazine, TIME, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker. Laub is represented by Benrubi Gallery in New York.
Publication & Programming
A companion book, Gillian Laub: Family Matters, will be published by Aperture in September 2021. With more than eighty images, accompanied by a personal account of the artist’s life in her own words, the book offers a compelling picture of the fractures in contemporary American society, in a subversively funny and gut-wrenchingly familiar way. 228 pages, 85 four-color images. Clothbound. ISBN 978-1-59711-491-2. US $50.00 / CDN $65.00 / UK £40.00.
ICP will host public programs related to this exhibition, including a book event and signing in collaboration with Aperture, to be announced.
Fall exhibition hours are Wednesday through Monday, 11 AM to 7 PM, and until 9 PM on Thursdays. Admission: Adults $16; Seniors (62 and Over), Students (with Valid ID), Military, Visitors with Disabilities $12 (caregivers are free); SNAP/EBT card holders $3; ICP members, ICP students, and all visitors 16 years old and under are free.
Admission to ICP is by timed ticketed entry only to ensure that limited capacity and other safety standards are met. Tickets can be reserved online at icp.org/tickets. Visitors are asked to arrive during the 30-minute window of their timed ticket to help ensure a safe flow in the lobby. ICP is committed to offering space and programs that are accessible to all audiences. We believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion are values that are integral to offering an open forum for dialogue around photography and visual culture that is open to all. For more information about how we are welcoming you back safely, read our updated Visitor Information and Accessibility guidelines and policies.
Plan for your visit
We recommend all visitors listen to the audio story voiced by Gillian Laub while visiting the exhibition, Gillian Laub: Family Matters at ICP. Download Gesso’s app for iPhone or Android and when you arrive in the galleries launch the exhibition experience through the app or a web browser. Bring your headphones to listen as you move throughout the gallery. The story starts at the beginning of ACT I. Translations and transcripts available in multiple languages through the Gesso app when at ICP.
ICP has a limited number of iPads and headphones available for those not able to access through a personal device. Guests can visit the visitor experience desk to reserve and must leave their government issued I.D. to reserve.