Bob Lerner for LOOK magazine, "Hungarian Refugee [Man with a camera standing with his back to the United Nations Building]," taken January 31, 1957 (all images courtesy Museum of the City of New York)

The Museum of the City of New York (MCNY) will launch the only New York-based triennial focused on photography, video, and other lens-based media in 2023, titled New York Now. The inaugural edition, slated to open in March next year, will be organized around the all-encompassing theme of “Home,” and each successive show will continue to “engage themes and issues of the contemporary city.”

In a brief statement on the theme of the first installment, the organizers suggest that the concept of “home” can evoke a range of associations, from physical place to family and community. They note that it can be “highly personal” while also acknowledging that “home” often spills into debates over urban development and public policy. 

It is not the first photography triennial to take place in New York, though it will be the only one currently active. The International Center of Photography (ICP), located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, hosted several iterations of its own triennial, with the last one staged in 2013.

The MCNY is inviting amateur and professional photographers from New York City and beyond to submit to an open call for the triennial. Any work made over the past six years — which is more of a general guidepost than a strict requirement — will be considered, and each applicant can send in up to eight photographs or one video. The deadline to submit is June 17, and those whose work is selected will be notified by September 20.

Stanley Kubrick for LOOK magazine, “Art by Celebrities Sponsored by the Urban League [Photographer at the art auction]” (1948)

The organizers are open-ended in what they are looking for, asking only that the photography or video work “creatively documents and interprets this changing cityscape and the disparate responses and experiences of New Yorkers, straddling the stories of the city before, during, and after the pandemic.”

Sean Corcoran, curator of prints and photographs at MCNY, told Hyperallergic that the museum is also asking several other institutions across the five boroughs, including Aperture, the Bronx Documentary Center, and Queens Museum of Art, to put forth nominations for the triennial.

Corcoran and Thea Quiray Tagle, an assistant professor of Ethnic Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, will co-curate the 2023 triennial. An advisory team of accomplished individuals has also been assembled to crystallize the vision for the exhibition, comprised of International Center for Photography Chief Curator Brian Wallis; curator and MacArthur Fellow Nicole Fleetwood; Monolith Editions founder Kris Graves; and curator and Magnum Foundation Executive Director Kristen Lubben.

Jasmine Liu is a former staff writer for Hyperallergic. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she studied anthropology and mathematics at Stanford University.