In 2005, Tavares Strachan journeyed to the Alaskan Arctic and worked with a skilled team to extract a single two-and-a-half-ton piece of ice from a frozen river. This ice block was shipped to the Bahamas (the artist’s birthplace) and exhibited there in hot summer weather, kept cold in a specially designed freezer powered by solar energy. The very same block of ice and cooling system are now on view here in Brooklyn.
The act of transporting refrigerated Arctic ice to his childhood home was in part a response to Strachan’s experience as a child, when he found the idea of landscapes of snow and ice almost impossible to comprehend. The work suggests the interdependency of two extremes, with the heat of the sun in a warm climate keeping an icy piece of the Arctic intact. At the same time, it alludes to a number of environmental and social issues, including the realities of climate change, our notion of what is valuable, and the immigrant’s experience of displacement. The path of the ice block—which went from the Bahamas to Miami and now to Brooklyn—parallels that of many new Americans of Caribbean origin.
A small installation of photographs in the Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Lobby accompanies this presentation.