New York–Washington; November 3, 2021 – Asia Society and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announce the East Coast premiere of COAL+ICE, a documentary photography exhibition that brings together the work of more than 40 photographers and videographers from around the world to view the climate crisis, its causes and consequences, as a large-scale immersive experience. The exhibit is paired with the first of a six-week festival of events for audiences of all ages developed by Asia Society in conjunction with the Kennedy Center’s International Programming Department and the Environmental Initiative and Lab for Performance and Global Politics from Georgetown University. Scheduled as part of the Kennedy Center’s 50th Anniversary Season, this free, one-of-a-kind exhibition and programmatic series utilizes the flexible outdoor and indoor spaces of the Kennedy Center’s REACH campus and runs from March 15 through April 22, 2022.
48 projectors will illuminate a purpose-built 30,000 square foot immersive exhibition space in the REACH Plaza. Beginning with stunning hanging photographs of the mountains and glaciers of the Himalayas juxtaposed with historic and contemporary portraits of coal miners, the visitor explores the relationship between coal and ice as they travel deeper into the immersive space and a story of the climate crisis unfolds. The imagery, drawn from over a century of diverse materials, from glass plate negatives to smartphone videos, documents our relationship with fossil fuels and the consequences unleashed by their continued use. On both climate change and humanity’s resilience, the exhibition ends with an opportunity for reflection and response.
COAL + ICE will serve as the stage for a dynamic six-week festival of new curated events – featuring music, theater, panel discussions, creative art, pop-up DJ dance parties, and more – who engage with local, national, and international communities. Programming, including special celebrations for World Water Day (March 22) and Earth Day (April 22), will invite audiences of all ages to join the climate conversation. A robust list of educational activities will be complemented by on-site and virtual exhibit tours and specialized resource guides for students and teachers. The Moonshot Studio at the Kennedy Center will also offer a series of complementary activities to the exhibition. The program and schedule of the festival will be announced later.
In addition to activating the REACH campus, Asia Society will work with a wide range of other organizations to present concurrent activities and climate-related programs to local audiences in all eight neighborhoods and the wider DMV region.
The COAL + ICE exhibition is co-curated by photographer Magnum Susan Meiselas and renowned scenographer Jerome de Vriesand is a project of the Asia Society, led by Orville Schell, Arthur Ross, director of the Center on US-China Relations. First developed as an exhibition for the Three Shadows Photography Art Center in Beijing in 2011, it has since been shown across China, in Paris during COP21, and most recently in 2018 at the Fort Mason Center for Arts. and Culture in San Francisco. To learn more, visit CoalandIce.org.