Laura Gascoigne: Do You Want Ice With That? – May 2017

Kitty Kraus – Untitled

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style="font-weight: 400;">Ever since Anya Gallaccio made her name by exhibiting an ice google_ad_slot = "7160667483"; block called Intensities and Surfaces in an East London pumping station in 1996, I’ve been monitoring the
uncool way. I remember grumbling at the time of Gallaccio’s exhibition that if I was going to hear from an ice cube, I’d rather it addressed me from a gin and tonic. Little did I suspect that over the next two decades I’d be on the receiving end of a chorus of sermons from ice cubes, not

one of them accompanied by so much as a zest of lemon.

The big attraction of ice to conceptual artists is that the medium is the message, and the message

is obvious. google_ad_width = 970; Conceptual art simply adores the obvious, and so it has taken ice to its bosom where, as with climate change,
a cool start has been followed by accelerated warming. Here is an easy-reference 20-year calendar to prove



1997 – Francis Alÿs pushes an enormous ice block through Mexico City until it shrinks to a cube, then instead of popping it into a Tequila Ponche, like any normal hot and thirsty Mexican, he

christens it Paradox Praxis and declares it “an allegory about
failed modernisation strategies in the region”. Que?

2009 – Andy Goldsworthy cuts a circle of ice in a frozen river with a rope compass and

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lets it float away. “The circle


was locked and then, suddenly, it was joyously made free to move and rejoin the flow,” he declaims poetically, before skipping off like google_ad_slot = "6023194682"; Fotherington-Thomas.

2010 –

Karl Lagerfeld, scenting frost on the fashion breeze, imports a giant google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; iceberg as the

light bulb at its centre. Titled Untitled, it melts onto the gallery floor
creating “topographical patterns that viewers must navigate around”.

2012 – Neha Choksi, an artist drawn to “scenarios of erasure, exhaustion, detachment and disappearance”, creates Iceboat, a film of herself src="//"> rowing across a lake in a frozen boat until it melts.

2013 src="//"> – The Holy See climbs aboard the freezer truck, installing a refrigeration unit in its debut Pavilion at the Venice Biennale to keep a painting by Lawrence Carroll on ice.

2014 – For the Liverpool Biennale Norma Jeane installs a solar-powered ice-making machine in the Old Blind School, which – for want of July

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sun in Liverpool – leaks. In October, coinciding with the publication of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report on Climate
Change, Olafur Eliasson arranges 12 blocks of

collapse will probably have happened and a pool of sticky cream with a cherry and a dead fly floating in it will seem a more fitting monument to hubris – which, with the pace of modern life,

​ is faster-acting than in Ozymandias’ day. When we’re frozen out by Europe google_ad_height = 90; and the rest of

the world, Phillipson’s
Mr Whippy vanitas will leave us cold.

style="font-weight: //--> 400;">The google_ad_slot = "8637400688"; fact is that while variations on vanitas painting are endless, the creative possibilities of ice and cream are limited and were long ago exhausted by the Italians. Often it takes the imagination of a non-artist to realise the transformative potential of a non-art medium. In the winter of 2012 in China’s north-eastern city of Jilin, Wen Hsu, a 58-year-old tenant dissatisfied with the compensation on offer for his vacation of

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