MINNEAPOLIS – The Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota presents Vanishing Ice (January 27 – May 13, 2018). Showcasing the beauty, significance, and vulnerability of Earth’s frozen lands, Vanishing Ice visualizes the environmental and social impact that climate change has had on alpine and polar regions, offering another perspective on why ice matters. A world without ice holds profound consequences for plant and animal habitats as well as human culture. One quarter of Earth’s population (1.9 billion people) relies on glacier-fed rivers for life-sustaining water.
Providing viewers an opportunity to experience the majesty of the sublime landscapes that have inspired artists, writers, and naturalists for more than two hundred years, Vanishing Ice highlights the cultural legacy of ice. Featuring forty-seven artworks created between 1860 and 2017, the show is organized around three geographical regions: Alpine, Arctic, and Antarctic. The artists representing each of these regions capture the unique features of their landscapes, and document the visible impact that climate change has produced. From early paintings and books to documentaries and photographs made after the turn of the twenty-first century, the artworks in the exhibition make clear what transformations have already taken place and urge visitors to recognize the environmental and civil rights issues that are currently at stake.
Despite their daunting altitudes and extreme temperatures, the mystery of these icy regions has attracted adventurers of all sorts. The exhibition emphasizes the value of cross-disciplinary collaboration, focusing on programs and projects that have brought scientists and artists together in the quest for knowledge about the complex network between humans and the natural environment. Artists participated in some of the earliest exploratory studies of these challenging climates, visualizing the landscape for academic and popular audiences. Today, these early landscapes continue to play a major role in science by helping climatologists measure the retreat of glaciers over the centuries.
Expanding on the exhibition’s theme, the Weisman Art Museum commissioned artists and engaged local organizations and University of Minnesota partners to create new work that connects to Minnesota’s own icy climate. Jyoti Duwadi will install Melting Ice, a stacked block ice sculpture, outside the museum. The sculpture is designed to melt throughout the course of the exhibition. The ice comes from the company Minnesota Ice Sculptures with a base built by Woodchuck. A haunting sound piece by local artist Kelsey Bosch fills the galleries with sounds recorded from ice. UMN assistant professor of design Eugene Park and his design lab created a new installation mapping the rise of CO2 and the decline of glacier ice. Visitors can dig deeper into the topic of climate change with American explorer and UMN professor Aaron Doering and his team at the Learning Technologies Media Lab. An interactive display allows visitors to reflect on how climate change has impacted their life.
WAM presents Vanishing Ice not only to highlight artistic engagement with the Earth’s vast frozen regions, but also to invite critical reflection on our role in the dramatic changes happening in these essential environs.
Vanishing Ice: Alpine and Polar Landscapes in Art is organized by the Whatcom Museum. Major funding for the exhibition has been provided by The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts with additional support from the Norcliffe Foundation, the Washington State Arts Commission, and the City of Bellingham.
Above Image Block Top: Gary Braasch, Athabasca Glacier, Jasper National Park, 2005. Whatcom Museum. Bottom: Arthur Oliver Wheeler, Athabasca Glacier, Jasper National Park, 1917. Courtesy of the National Archives of Canada.
Exhibition Preview Party January 26, 2018 | 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Free with registration.
Explore the icy landscapes of our world. View Chasing Ice, a documentary of global climate change. Engage with an environment that reveals your human contributions to our changing climate. Experience how explorers cross the Arctic with Dr. Aaron Doering and his team. See everything rom the sleds they pull packed with all their necessities to survive for months to the tents they live in. Tickets at Z.UMN.EDU/IceParty
Thoughts on Ice February 23, 2018 | 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Thoughts on Ice is a Friday afternoon seminar with American explorer Aaron Doering and the sibling duo behind the Herbivorous butcher, Aubry and Kale Walch. The afternoon will include a guided tour of Vanishing Ice, a series of short films that follow Aaron Doering’s expeditions investigating climate change from the Arctic to the Amazon, and a food tasting and panel conversation between Doering and the Herbivorous team on the connection between climate change, food production systems, and space travel. Z.UMN.EDU/WAMfilms
Slow Art Day April 7, 2018 | All Day
One day each year people all over the world visit local museums and galleries to look at art slowly. Head to the museum to investigate artworks, explore an arctic expedition camp and documentary, munch on snacks, take a free public tour, and soak in the inspirational feeling of being surrounded by art.
Student Design Showcase April 25, 2018 | 7:00 p.m.
Students from the UMN College of Design nontraditional materials course will create ready-for-the-runway garments utilizing ecologically conscious materials inspired by Vanishing Ice. By considering all stages of production from material, construction, consumer use, and eventual disposal, these designers hope to shine a light on the ecological cost of the fashion industry and ultimately make changes for a healthier planet. Z.UMN.EDU/WAMdesign
Since its origin in 1934, the Weisman Art Museum has been a teaching museum for the University of Minnesota. Today, education remains central to the museum’s mission to create art experiences that spark discovery, critical thinking, and transformation, linking the University and the community. The Weisman Art Museum is located at 333 East River Road, Minneapolis, on the University of Minnesota campus. Admission to exhibition galleries is always free. WAM.UMN.EDU