“COAL + ICE” Immersive Documentary Photography Exhibit Visualizes the Climate Crisis

CHARCOAL + ICEa project of Asia Society, is an immersive exhibition of documentary photography that brings together the work of over 50 photographers from around the world to visualize the climate crisis.

Co-curated by Magnum photographer Susan Meiselas and exhibition designer Jeroen de Vries, CHARCOAL + ICE traces a photographic arc from the depths of coal mines to the melting glaciers of the Great Himalayas, and to places around the world where rising sea levels and extreme weather events are wreaking havoc. Spanning over a century of technology, the images featured come from a variety of materials, from glass plate negatives to smartphone videos. Through intimate portraits and vast weathered landscapes, these photographs document our relationship to fossil fuels and the consequences triggered by this continued addiction.

During the last decade, CHARCOAL + ICE traveled the world, visually evolving with the climate crisis. Asia Society is honored to partner with the Kennedy Center to bring this show to the U.S. Capitol for its East Coast premiere March 15-April 22, 2022, where it is uniquely adapted for the Kennedy Center. 48 projectors illuminate the 30,000 square foot exhibition space built on the REACH Plaza.

Installation view of CHARCOAL + ICE with photographs by Gideon Mendel

CHARCOAL + ICE brings the environmental and human costs of climate change to life through insightful images, videos and events. A series of dynamic six-week programs transform the exhibition center into a stage for music, performance, panel discussions, artistic creation, and more.

Admission to the exhibition is free, as well as all the programming with pre-registration, compulsory for events.

CHARCOAL + ICE has partnered with a wide range of arts, environmental and service organizations that will simultaneously present climate-related programming to diverse local audiences across the region. Dysturb and the Magnum Foundation will present #ReframeClimate, a public art campaign featuring large-scale global images of climate change accompanied by an interactive element that lets viewers learn more about the story behind the image. Other partners include Americans for the Arts, Anacostia Community Museum, Hirshhorn Museum, National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Phillips Collection, among others.

For those who are not in the area, the CHARCOAL + ICE Climate “Posterator” is a digital platform accessible worldwide to create original posters in response to the climate crisis. Create your own unique design by pairing images from the exhibit with text to print or share online. Posters will be presented inside the exhibition and 10 drawings will receive $1,500 each.

To learn more, visit coalandice.org.

Matt Black, California, USA, 2014 (image courtesy of Magnum Photos)
David Breashears, Mount Everest, Tibet, China, 2007 (image courtesy of GlacierWorks)
Installation view of CHARCOAL + ICE with photographs by David Breashears

Tracey L. Sweeney