Iceland’s Largest Glacier Exhibited in MoMa Skip to content

Iceland’s Largest Glacier Exhibited in MoMa

An exhibition of chunks of ice from Vatnajökull, Iceland’s and Europe’s largest glacier, by Danish-Icelandic artist Ólafur Elíasson, opened in MoMa’s PS1 in Queens, New York, last month. The exhibition is intended to raise awareness of climate change.

jokulsarlon_psJökulsárlón glacial lagoon. Photo: Páll Stefánsson/Iceland Review.

“Vatnajökull is the only place in the world where you can stand off on the sand and watch big chunks of glacier break,” Ólafur told in reference to the popular travel destination Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon in Southeast Iceland.

“It’s not like New York is going to go see the glacier in Iceland, so it makes sense to take some piece of Iceland and bring it to New York,” the artist added.

To make the exhibition happen, Ólafur asked two of his friends to locate pieces of fallen, transportable glacial ice. They went to Vatnajökull every day for three weeks until they had found enough ice for the exhibition, which was then transported to New York in refrigerated containers used to export seafood.

To have the ice maintain its shape, MoMa’s PS1 gallery was turned into a freezing cabinet. According to PS1, the pieces of ice chosen for the project are about 800 years old.

The exhibition will run through September, at which point the pieces of ice will melt, as they would have weeks earlier had they not been put on display.

Ólafur Elíasson is one of the designers of the award-winning Harpa concert and conference center in Reykjavík. In 2008, Ólafur’s exhibition of waterfalls in public spaces in New York garnered significant attention.


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