Using Tyler Mitchell’s exhibition, I Can Make You Feel Good, at the International Center of Photography (ICP), as a springboard, photographers Quil Lemons and Arielle Bobb-Willis will share their work and have a conversation led by ICP’s curator-at-large, Isolde Brielmaier.
Moderators: Isolde Brielmaier
Photoville 2020 Talks On-demand recordings are made possible in partnership with PhotoWings with additional support by the Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation.
Using Tyler Mitchell’s exhibition, I Can Make You Feel Good, at the International Center of Photography (ICP), as a springboard, photographers Quil Lemons and Arielle Bobb-Willis will share their work and have a conversation led by ICP’s curator-at-large, Isolde Brielmaier. Drawing from past influences and inspirations, the photographers will discuss the connections between the past, present, and future, and how they envision the impact of visual culture on issues of representation today.
Born and raised in New York City, with pit stops in South Carolina and New Orleans, photographer Arielle Bobb-Willis has been using the camera for nearly a decade as a tool of empowerment. Battling with depression from an early age, Bobb-Willis found solace behind the lens and has developed a visual language that speaks to the complexities of life: the beautiful, the strange, belonging, isolation, and connection. Inspired by masters like Jacob Lawrence and Benny Andrews, Bobb-Willis applies a ‘painterly’ touch to her photography by documenting people in compromising and disjointed positions as way to highlight these complexities. Toting the line between fashion and contemporary art, her use of bright vivid colors is therapeutic and speaks to a desire to claim power and joy in moments of sadness, confusion or confinement. Her photographs are all captured in urban and rural cities, from the South to North, East to West. Bobb-Willis travels throughout the US as a way of finding ‘home’ in any grassy knoll, or city sidewalk, reminding us to stay connected and grounded during life’s transitional moments.
Arielle is currently based in Los Angeles.
Quil Lemons’ work is a representation of the community he comes from. The context of his work comes from the internet, queerness, and popular culture, the themes of his work are timeless and ambitious in scope. Subjects such as masculinity, queerness, race, and body positivity are played out in often disruptive images that feel like pure imagination. Lemons dances the line between the fantastic and realistic, drawing influence from our current cultural climate, giving his work an eerily familiar feeling.
GLITTERBOY(2017) introduced Lemons to the world and started a dialogue that would act as a common thread through much of his work to come. In his inaugural series, Lemons dusted black men with glitter to combat the stereotypes and stigmas placed upon their bodies. This concept of challenging what is acceptable for the black male body developed even further in BOY PARTS (2020).
Simultaneously, Lemons began an exploration of the black family portrait with his series PURPLE (2018) and project WELCOME HOME (2018). Images from both projects gave an intimate glimpse into his home life and the modern black American family structure in Philadelphia.
Quil has previously exhibited at Contact Festival, Toronto ’18, Kuumba Festival, Toronto ’19 and Aperture, NY ’19.
For over a decade Isolde Brielmaier has worked internationally as a curator and cultural strategist, collaborating with noted contemporary artists, art institutions, companies and individuals to position them in the center of culture via headlining projects, cultural programming, social impact initiatives and partnerships that contextualize each entity in meaningful ways to drive buzz and engagement. Her diverse experience and broad reach highlights her ability to integrate and customize a global aesthetic into multiple platforms including art, design, architecture, technology, scholarship, fashion, publishing, public and private real estate as well as philanthropy.
Currently, Brielmaier is the inaugural Curator-at-Large at the International Center for Photography (ICP) in New York City. After six years as Executive Director and Curator of Arts, Culture & Community at Westfield World Trade Center, she is now the national advisor for Unbail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW), a role in which she advises on artist projects and installations, cultural events, strategic and community partnerships across the organization. Isolde is also Professor of Critical Studies in Tisch’s Department of Photography, Imaging and Emerging Media at New York University, and continues to work on a range of cultural projects that bridge both the public and private sectors including commission based projects for Amazon Web Services, Smithsonian, and the Peninsula Hotel Group. She serves as Editor at Large at Air Mail, Graydon Carter’s new media venture and speaks regularly on topics related to art, culture and social impact.
Isolde has been profiled and featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Elle, Vogue, Modern Luxury, WNYC, CNN, The Washington Post, Galerie Magazine, Cultured, and Whitewall, among others.
Throughout her career, Brielmaier has collaborated with noted contemporary artists including Ellen Gallagher, Leonardo Drew, Richard Mosse, Ivan Navarro, Wangechi Mutu, Bill Viola, Fred Wilson, and Bharti Kher, to name a few. She has written extensively on contemporary art and culture, including several exhibition catalogues, journal articles as well as artist monographs. She has developed and contributed to contemporary art and culture programs and platforms for a broad range of organizations including Amazon (AWS), Peninsula Hotel Group, Valentino, LifeWater, COACH, Richard Meier Architects, SDS Procida, Versace, Moet Hennessy USA, Wilfredo Rosado, Gucci, New York magazine, the Prospect New Orleans biennial as well as the Armory Show/VOLTA NY, CIRCA, Puerto Rico, and ARCO Contemporary Art Fair in Madrid, Spain, among others.
Previously, Brielmaier has worked for the Guggenheim Museum, the Bronx Museum of Art, and as Chief Curator for the SCAD Museum of Art. In 2016, she was named to a three-year appointment as Curator-at-Large at the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College and in December of 2016 she was named to the Board of Trustees of the New Museum. She is deeply committed to the promotion of social justice and human rights, specifically global women’s issues and criminal justice reform. Brielmaier holds a PhD from Columbia University and lives in New York City.
The International Center of Photography (ICP) is the world’s leading institution dedicated to photography and visual culture. Cornell Capa founded ICP in 1974 to champion “concerned photography” — socially and politically minded images that can educate and change the world. Through our exhibitions, education programs, community outreach, and public programs, ICP offers an open forum for dialogue about the power of the image.
As part of Photoville Festival 2023, ICP will be providing family activities, youth panels for our EDU days, and workshops hosted at their center – check back for more details throughout May!