Asia Society COAL + ICE Exhibition of documentary photographs towards the Kennedy Center, March 15 to April 22, 2022



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 premiere 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 Environment and Laboratory Initiative for Georgetown University’s Global Performance and Politics. Scheduled as part of the Kennedy Center 50th Anniversary Season, this free and unique exhibit and programmatic series utilizes the flexible outdoor and indoor spaces of the Kennedy Center’s REACH campus and runs from March 15 to April 22, 2022.

48 projectors will illuminate an immersive 30,000 square foot exhibition space at REACH Plaza. From stunning hanging photographs of the Himalayan mountains and glaciers juxtaposed with historical and contemporary portraits of coal miners, the visitor explores the relationship between coal and ice as they delve 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 to fossil fuels and the consequences triggered by their continued use. Both on climate change and on the resilience of humanity, the exhibition ends with a time of reflection and response.

COAL + ICE will serve as the stage for a vibrant six-week festival of new events – featuring music, theater, panel discussions, artistic creation, pop-up DJ dances, and more – which will take place. ‘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 solid roster of educational activities will be complemented by on-site and virtual exhibition tours and specialist resource guides for students and teachers. The Kennedy Center’s Moonshot Studio will also offer a series of activities that will complement the exhibit. The festival program and schedule will be announced at a later date.

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 a local audience in the eight neighborhoods and the wider DMV region.

The COAL + ICE exhibition is co-organized by photographer Magnum Susan meiselas and renowned scenographer Jeroen de Vries, and is a project of the Asia Society, led by Orville Schell, Director Arthur Ross 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 more recently in 2018 at the Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture in San Francisco. To learn more, see CoalandIce.org.


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