Culture Shock

Steven Robert Allen
2 min read
“Emperor Penguins” by Jody Forster
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Ice, Ice, Baby— So, the other day I’m riding my bicycle over to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science to see the exhibit they’ve got on display about Antarctica. It’s the middle of the afternoon and hot as hell. I’m really sweatin’ it up. Pedaling madly in that insane heat, I’m not even at the show yet, and I’m already daydreaming about emperor penguins and big, wide, white plains of frigid Antarctic ice. Once I finally get inside, it only takes a few minutes to feel fully immersed in that other world. They’ve even piped in Antarctic sounds—howling winds, creaking ice—to aid in the illusion.

The main attraction is a series of images created by Albuquerque-based photographer Jody Forster that capture spectacular scenes at the southernmost region of our little blue planet. Our country’s National Science Foundation (NSF), it turns out, operates something called the Antarctic Artists and Writers Program. Every year, the NSF selects a handful of worthy artists and writers to ship off to the great white continent to work. Under the auspices of the program, Forster was lucky enough to spend several months in Antarctica in 1992 and another few months in 1995.

The photographs in this exhibit showcase the chilled beauty of that dangerous place—glaciers and ice falls and icicles and cliffs and frozen ponds and impossibly huge mountains of translucent ice. The show offers a nice refuge from Albuquerque’s unforgiving summer.

The exhibit runs through early September in the Gavin Family Triassic Hall. The museum is located at 1801 Mountain NW. For details, call 841-2800 or go to
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