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Ketchum, Idaho

Thin Ice: Journeys in Polar Regions

Curated by
Courtney Gilbert

The earth’s Polar Regions have long exerted a strong pull on the human imagination. The names of early 20th-century explorers like Robert Peary, Robert Scott, Roald Amundsen and Ernest Shackleton evoke heroic tales of men willing to sacrifice everything to be among the first human beings to reach the North and South Poles and to expand our scientific understanding of the Arctic and Antarctica.

One hundred years later, scientists, explorers and tourists continue to visit the Polar Regions. They face the same extremes in weather and isolation, but travel with an urgency quite different from the competition that drove their predecessors. Many contemporary travelers hope to visit these parts of the planet in order to see firsthand landscapes and wildlife that are increasingly threatened.

The fragility of polar ecosystems seems to mirror their beauty. Those who have visited speak of the quality of the light, of the striking variations of color in the ice, of watching the aurora and of the magic of seeing animals like seals, penguins, whales and polar bears in their natural habitats.

This multidisciplinary project examines the role the Polar Regions play in our understanding of our world through the lens of travels and expeditions.

Participating Artists:
Subhankar Banerjee
Kim Baranowski
Anna McKee
Iris Häussler
Rachel Hazell
Mark Thompson
Herbert Ponting
Donald MacMillan


Iris Häussler wishes to acknowledge the support of the following funders