COAL + ICE, a project of Asia Society, is an immersive documentary photography exhibition 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, COAL + ICE traces a photographic arc from deep within coal mines to the melting glaciers of the Greater Himalayas, and to locations across the globe where rising sea levels and extreme weather events wreak havoc. Spanning over a century of technology, the featured imagery comes from diverse materials, from glass plate negatives to smartphone videos. Through intimate portraits and vast altered landscapes, these photographs document our relationship to fossil fuels and the consequences triggered by this continued reliance.

Over the past decade, COAL + ICE has traveled around the world, visually evolving along with the climate crisis. Asia Society is honored to collaborate with the Kennedy Center to bring this show to the US capital for its East Coast premiere from March 15 to 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 from COAL + ICE featuring photography by Gideon Mendel

COAL + ICE brings the environmental and human costs of climate change to life through images, videos, and insightful events. A vibrant six-week programming series transforms the center of the exhibition into a stage for music, performance, panel discussions, art-making, and more.

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

COAL + ICE has joined forces with a broad range of artistic, environmental, and service organizations that will concurrently present climate-related programs 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 allows viewers to 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 not in the region, the COAL + ICE Climate “Posterator” is a globally accessible digital platform for creating original posters in response to the climate crisis. Make your own unique design by pairing images from the exhibition with text to print or share online. Posters will be featured inside the exhibition and 10 designs will be awarded $1,500 each.

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Matt Black, California, USA, 2014 (image courtesy Magnum Photos)
David Breashears, Mount Everest, Tibet, China, 2007 (image courtesy GlacierWorks)
Installation view from COAL + ICE featuring photography by David Breashears