The blog of author Dennis Cooper


Paul Kos Sound of Ice Melting, 1970
‘Installation of two twenty-five pound blocks of ice, eight boom microphone stands, eight microphones, mixer, amplifier, two large speakers and cables.’


Goldie Starling FX Makeup Series Frostbite, 2015
‘In this fx makeup tutorial I will be demonstrating an extreme frostbite.’


The Cryogenic Prison Chamber from Demolition Man, 1993
‘Large round acrylic chamber with mirror base and acrylic lid that has been etched and painted to simulate frozen liquid; together with a prop figure of a frozen Stallone as “John Spartan” who is put into suspended animation in the opening sequence of the film. (Please note three toes have come unattached from the left foot though they can be fixed, and there are substantial cracks in the acrylic chamber due to age and use.)’


Luzinterruptus Labyrinth of Frozen Plastic Waste, 2017
‘We build a structure with an intricate path and narrow passages which force visitors to keep turning, thus producing a feeling of disorientation and a certain unease after a few seconds as it was impossible to guess how far the exit was. There were no reference points in its interior and the icy cold and the smell of plastic enhanced a definitely oppressive experience.’


Juan Miguel Quiñones Dracula, 2020
100% Marble


Judy Chicago Dry Ice Environment #1, 1967
‘Dry ice and flares. Collaboration with Lloyd Hamrol and Eric Orr. Performed at Parking lot in Century City, Los Angeles, CA.’


Pierre Huyghe L’Expédition scintillante, Act 3 (Black ice rink), 2002
‘”L’Expédition scintillante, Act III (Black Ice Stage)” consists of a square ice skating rink filled with black ice. An ice skater can, for a couple hours a day, perform on the rink. The ice bears the traces of the skates’ damage. The ceiling light reproduces the light strikes released by magnetic storms. The soundtrack is Music for Airports 4 by Brian Eno.’


Maria Koshenkova Black ice, 2013
Black ice is like a silent television screen; its reflections lack concreteness and color; all that is left is form and no more than a hint of reality.” Works are part of the “Ice Laboratory” – the first exhibition from the series of art&science projects uniting the ideas of contemporary artists, glaciologists, oceanologists and anthropologists.’


Peter Fischli and David Weiss Snowman, 1990
‘Locked away in a six-and-a-half-foot-tall vitrine, with a long extension cord plugged into the wall, the encased snowman is not actually made of snow but is instead a frost-coated copper sculpture filled with water. The box is kept quite humid, and within a few days, condensed water collects on the surface of the statue and freezes, transforming the work into a wintery figure. Every morning, the display gets a new batch of distilled water, and the snowman’s smile is reshaped. The frosted glass comes courtesy of a fine mist of water spraying inside the tank.’


Onishi Yasuaki Vertical Emptiness, 2013
‘For his latest installation, “Vertical Emptiness,” Osaka-based artist Yasuaki Onishi turned the Kyoto Art Center into an ice-world forest like something out of Narnia. Tree branches are hung upside down from the ceiling, drizzled with strands of hot glue like spider silk. Onishi sprays the branches with liquid urea, which then crystallizes. The delicate structure that connects ceiling to floor appears shagged with silver-white ice, standing in stark relief in front of a large black panel of glue and graphite.’


Frantiček Klossner Liquid Identity, 2005
‘The human body in his video installations and performative sculptures, and even in his drawings and photographic works, stands for processes of psychological individuation and social interdependency.’

Watch the video here


‘Some parents across the country are raising an uproar over a popular children’s toy: L.O.L. Surprise Dolls. The packaging says there is a secret message, but parents say they didn’t know the secret message would possibly be provocative. “Whoa!! Oh my gosh,” shouted one parent. One after another, parents across social media are in shock after discovering their daughters’ L.O.L Surprise Dolls change into what they’re calling lingerie. When you open them up, they don’t have any clothing. The problem, parents say, is when you dip them into ice water. “It’s very gut wrenching, really,” said Mobile mother Kristin O-Neil, who has two little girls. O’Neil says her kids love L.O.L. Surprise Dolls, so she tried it for herself and was shocked to see some of them change. This mom threw more than 20 of them away. “I was like, ‘Look, this is crazy,’ and boom, we just started chunking them,” O’Niel said.’


Tokujin Yoshioka Second Nature, 2008
‘In a dictionary, “second nature” means “an acquired habit or tendency in one’s character that is so deeply ingrained as to appear automatic.” In addition to the meaning above, in this exhibition, the word “second nature” is used in a sense of expressing a symbol of nature that we seek in the future design. We also use the word to express a nature that exists deep in each one’s memory.’


Rómulo Celdrán Macro XIII: Ice Cube Tray, 2018
Polychromed foamboard, aluminium, and epoxy resin


Knutte Wester Gzim and the frozen lake, 2009
‘Gzim is born in Kosovo but have spent his childhood in different refugee camps. In 2003 I have my studio at a refugee camp in Sweden. During this time this boy Gzim happens to live in the same camp. We become friends and I play the role of the big brother he never had. One day he comes to my studio to tell me that he his family has been denied asylum and are being rejected from Sweden.’


Mariele Neudecker Unrecallable Now, 1998
‘Mariele Neudecker’s major installation “Unrecallable Now” (1998) consists of a model representation of an alpine range submerged in a freestanding aquarium of water.’


Philippe Parreno Iceman in Reality Park, 1995 – 2019
‘An ice sculpture of a snowman is placed on a plinth on top of a found Japanese manhole. The iceman melts over the course of a few days, leaving behind the stones that had been encrusted in the ice while a speaker placed inside the plinth delivers the sound of dripping water.’


Sean Raspet & Christoph Salzmann Water (Ice V Residue), 2017 –2018
‘Kurt Vonnegut once wrote about a fictional polymorph of water called Ice-nine whose high melting point meant that if it ever came into contact with regular liquid water, the regular water would permanently crystallize, leading to widespread human death (humans are mostly water). Fortunately, Vonnegut’s Ice-nine doesn’t exist, but there are seventeen kinds of ice that have been observed under laboratory conditions. Sean Raspet, in collaboration with Dr. Salzmann’s lab, is exhibiting a vial of water whose molecules have at one point in time taken on the structure of Ice V. While Ice V has a rich formal history, there is no accounting for those prior bonds in its current physical state, nor does the naked eye have access to the arrangement of its hydrogen and oxygen atoms. Dr. Salzmann’s laboratory has provided documents and diagrams authenticating the water’s material trajectory and past formal structures.’


Adam Sébire Various, 2020
‘An experienced freelance camera operator, filmmaker, editor & stills photographer, Adam Sébire is a Norway-based cameraman who shoots worldwide, from Pacific islands to Greenland, in between working as a multi-screen video artist.’


Anya Gallaccio Intensities and Surfaces, 1996
‘This piece is called Intensities and Surfaces, it is created out of 32 tons of large slabs of ice, surrounding a core of rock salt. The structure was situated in a water pumping station in east London and took 3 months to melt! It wasn’t just the temperature which melted the ice, the rock salt core corroded away creating dramatic changes and a weathered appearance. Although the piece melted, and was only in cube form for 3 months (in spring ’96) the melted ice spread across the boiler room, turning into water, creating glistening reflections, dancing in the light.’


Hans Haacke Condensation Cube, 1965
‘A physical process as basic as water condensation allows Haacke to redefine not only the work of art as a living system, but, most significantly, the role of the viewer or user of art. While the patterns of water trails within the cube have to do with the conditions of their immediate surroundings, the human presence is also part of this environment. The artwork depends on the physical presence of the viewers who, by their proximity, modify the work unwittingly.’


Erick Swenson Edgar, 1998
mixed media 60 x 48 x 108 in


Allan Kaprow Fluids, 1967
‘Allan Kaprow (1927 – 2006) is one of the most influential and at the same time least known artists of the second half of the 20th century. He coined the term “happening”, but his own work was largely forgotten because of the object-less nature of his artistic practice. Fluids was first created October 1967 at various public locations in California. With the assistance of volunteers, Kaprow built several structures measuring around 9 m long, 3 m wide and 2.4 m high, using ice blocks as his material. Once in place, these ice structures were simply left to melt. In its temporality and materiality, the work represents a challenge to the traditional understanding of art in public space. What endures of Fluids and the happenings of the 1950s and 1960s? How do we approach this happening retrospectively, nine years after the artist’s death? Kaprow had his own answer: “While there was an initial version of Fluids, there isn’t an original or permanent work. Rather, there is an idea to do something and a physical trace of that idea. … Fluids continues and its reinventions further multiply its meanings.”’


Yinka Shonibare Reverend on Ice, 2005,
fiberglass mannequin, dutch wax


Azuma Makoto Iced Flowers, 2015
‘The exhibition dubbed Iced Flowers was held at a warehouse in a Japanese town called Ogose, Saitama Prefecture, which is around 2 hours drive from the country’s capital Tokyo. The artist had three rows of ice blocks, each featuring bright coloured flower bouquets while other had pine trees. The set up was exemplary, portraying a frozen landscape showing the catchy contrast between the sturdy and permanent characteristic of the building where the exhibition was being staged and the short life of both flowers and ice.’


George Brecht Iced Dice, 1989
Prepared piano, performance

Watch the video here


‘The most effed up frozen treats of all time.’


Tavares Strachan The Distance Between What We Have and What We Want, 2005
‘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 summer weather, kept cold in a specially designed freezer powered by solar energy. The act of transporting refrigerated Arctic ice to his childhood home is the artist’s response, in part, to his experiences as a child, when he found the idea of landscapes of snow and ice almost impossible to comprehend.’


Greatest Hits Aquae Profundo, 2011 – 2015
‘During my career in contemporary art, I have encountered aliens a number of times. Most manifestations fall into three categories: ‘alien’ employed as a metaphor for the general unknown; alien as an iconic character of modern miracles; and art by aliens, an independent genre often shelved with specimens of creativity by animals and avatars of various kinds. Being raised in the Soviet system, where tales of abduction by aliens or UFOs meant that you too may soon be taken by psychiatrists, I was not very keen on discussing my encounters publicly for years. In the case of this work by Greatest Hits, the question remains: what do aliens think of this sculpture? As a human, I can say that if Greatest Hits really hit somewhere it is where your comfort zone is, where it overlaps with the dishonesty of accepting things only when they look like something you’ve seen a thousand times before. This was what I told the artists when explaining why writing about this sculpture should be done by an extraterrestrial of a different family.’


Sam Durant What’s Underneath Must Be Released and Examined to Be Understood, 1998
mirrors, earth, dry ice, machine, and mixed media


Francis Alÿs Paradox of Praxis I (1997)
Paradox of Praxis 1 is the record of an action carried out under the rubric of “sometimes making something leads to nothing.”. For more than nine hours, Alÿs pushed a block of ice through the streets of Mexico City until it completely melted. And so for hour after hour he struggled with the quintessentially Minimal rectangular block until finally it was reduced to no more than an ice cube suitable for a whisky on the rocks, so small that he could casually kick it along the street. An idea which speaks to the frustrated efforts of everyday Mexico City residents to improve their living conditions.’


Peter Anton Chocolate Ice Cream Bars, 2020
‘Concerned with craft as much as concept, Anton carefully renders each detail of his sculptures, down to every last sugar crystal.’


Soetkin Verstegen Freeze Frame, 2021
‘Brussels-based director Soetkin Verstegen bills her methodical and nostalgic animation “Freeze Frame” as a “miniature cinema inside an ice cube.” Produced in a grainy, vintage style, the black-and-white short loosely follows workers as they harvest and attempt to preserve the frozen blocks. Amidst scenes of the monotonous, assembly-line efforts are insects, frogs, and various creatures swimming across the frames and eventually, crystallizing into skeletal ice sculptures.’


Sarah Gillett The Unsound House, 2020
‘You will need: The Unsound House diagram on a computer screen, A sheet of paper or thin card, A biro, Scissors, Sellotape or Blu Tack, Pritt Stick or other paper glue, A cereal box with its clear plastic bag.’


Sand In Your Eye Untitled, 2021
‘Ice sculptures of children were installed on a UK beach to be washed away to demonstrate the effects of climate change. The ice sculptures stayed in place until around 1.30pm, when they were expected to be washed away by the tide.’


Doug Strodtman Dry Ice, 2009
‘A video installation piece I recently performed. I searched YouTube for “dry ice” and complied widest spectrum of interpretations of the phrase that I could find into an hour long looping video. I then projected this cyberspace representation of the phrase back onto the fog that rises from submerging dry ice in water.’


Sonja Hinrichsen Snow Drawings at Catamount Lake, 2013
‘Early last year, artist Sonja Hinrichsen and some 60 volunteers wearing snowshoes trekked out onto the frozen Catamount Lake in Colorado to trample miles of swirling and twisting patterns into the deep snow.’


Marc Quinn Beauty, 2000
‘Quinn used traditional life casting techniques to create a mould of Kate Moss dressed in a cloak by designer Alexander McQueen, which has been filled with water and frozen. Housed in a temperature controlled glass case the sculpture gradually disappears during the time of its display, leaving nothing but a pool of water. It is maintained in the gallery at just below freezing point. The sculpture eventually melts away, “leaving the work to become a visual metaphor for the transience of fame based only on physical attraction”.’


David Appleyard Time in the Ice House, 2017
‘A large-scale, experimental ice bell that, as it melted, released objects and rang a Tibetan Singing Bowl.’


‘Brain freeze, otherwise known as ice cream headache, is technically known as cold neuralgia or sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia. Big words for a short— but-agonizing— episode. There are several theories about what makes this happen. The one that probably makes the most sense is that when you eat or drink a large quantity of very cold food or liquid, you drop the temperature of the palate (the roof of your mouth) pretty substantially. The blood vessels automatically constrict—it’s a survival reflex to maintain your body’s core temperature. After the squeeze, the blood vessels open up — quickly. “This rebound dilation sends a pain signal to the brain through a nerve called the trigeminal nerve, whose upper branch extends into the midface and forehead. Ice cream headache is an example of “referred pain” — when changes happening in one part of the body signal pain in another. In this case, the tiny muscles around the blood vessels in the palate are tightening and relaxing suddenly, but the sensation is experienced higher up in the head.’


The Crystalists Various, 1976 – 1979
‘In 1978 Kamala Ibrahim Ishaaq and two of her students, Muhammad Hamid Shaddad and Naiyla al Tayib, rejected the Sudanese-centrism of the Khartoum School by creating the crystalist movement. The formation of this new approach was marked by a public declaration in the guise of the so-called crystalist manifesto. First published in Arabic, the document presented an artistic vision that attempted to work beyond the Sudanese-Islamic frameworks of the Khartoum School. Moreover, the crystalists sought to internationalize their art by embracing an existentialist avant-garde more akin to European aesthetics.

‘Thoroughly committed to novelty, invention, and atomic and space-age practices, the Crystalist group proposed completely new directions for art in Sudan in the 1970s, artistic practices that took on Crystalist themes of transparency and dualism, among them an intriguing exhibition in 1978 by Muhammad Hamid Shaddad that featured stacked ice blocks surrounded by plastic bags filled with colored water.

‘If the Khartoum School can be described as modernist, then the crystalists should be classified as ultramodern within Sudanese artistic expression. Aesthetically, the crystalists presented the cosmos as a “project of a transparent crystal with no veils but an eternal depth” (from the crys-talist manifesto). Crystalist paintings often contained distorted human faces trapped within clear cubes or spheres, and, as stated in their manifesto, “oppose[d] the trend which calls for skill and craftsmanship as a measure of good work.” Inherent in the clarity of existence of the crystalists was the feminist notion of unveiling—a significant facet amid the increased Islamization of postcolonial Sudan.’




p.s. Hey. Fyi, in the new issue of Interview Magazine (with Reese Witherspoon on the cover), the artist Richards Hawkins talks with me somewhat lengthily about ‘I Wished’ and all sorts of other things. It’s in the print edition only and not online, at least for now. ** scunnard, Hi, J! Thank you for originally introducing me and probably a lot of us to Zak’s work in your post about his writing some time back. Lovely to see you, sir. I hope you’re doing really greatly. ** Dominik, Hi!!!! Oh, the walk was really nice. Yesterday was the first without the outdoor mask wearing requirement, and it was amazing and so strange/fresh to be maskless and see people’s faces all around me. Wow. And the walk was nice, and the meeting at the far end of it went well — and it was at the designer Rick Owens’s house, which was interesting — and I think I’m fully myself again, so not bad: yesterday. And we’re in good health sync! Great! I did watch some of those vids, and I agree, and of course I’m trying to figure out if I can do some kind of post about them, ha ha. Sorry to be so predictable, but love only dating women who look like GB Jones’s Tom Girls, G. ** Misanthrope, That’s wild how they make a new holiday and then you get to celebrate it the next day. American ingenuity or whatever. Glad and envious that your head is being maxed out in the writing space, of course. Eek, well, I mean I guess a subpoena means you have to testify since you aren’t an expensively lawyered up ex-Trump associate, right? Eek. ** Bill, Hi, B. Cool and chumly of you make a goodreads for Zak’s book. I’ll try ‘Anything for Jackson’. The only horror I’ve seen recently is ‘The Conjuring 3’, which was … okay. ** _Black_Acrylic, 0-0, could’ve been worse. I don’t know what’s going on in the tournament at all, although I think France won something the other day based on a lot of late night whooping outside my windows. ** David Ehrenstein, I’ve pretty much given up on Ozon. It’s been ages since his films were of interest to me. New FaBlog! Everyone, Mr. E has updated the legendary FaBlog with a welcome embed of a never-seen James Baldwin interview and a no doubt fun Kate Smith belter. Here. ** Steve Erickson, I’ve read about ‘The Monopoly of Violence’, I can’t remember what though. Everyone, There’s a Steve Erickson two-fer for you this weekend: a piece about kink at the Gay Pride Parade called ‘Dominating and Humiliating Pride Into Respectability’, and a review of the documentary ‘Against the Current’ about the transgender Icelandic kayaker Veiga Grétarsdóttir. I like new Tumor. Haven’t heard the Tyler yet. And I haven’t seen that youtube footage, no, and I’ll hit that up very shortly, thank you. ** Dalton, Hi, Dalton. I don’t know Ulillillia at all. Sounds very fascinating. I’ll go explore his work this weekend, thank you very much! Oh, hm, actually there are quite a number of very good experimental novels using a somewhat similar technique to Zak’s, albeit generated from very different places. Let me think about it and let you know after I have. I’m still sans sufficient coffee at this very moment. But, yes, there are some books I can definitely recommend. Have a very fine weekend whatever it takes! ** Okay. I hate hot weather with a passion, and summer is defiantly arriving, and I decided to battle it in my puny way with a post that serves as a kind of paean to the glory that is ice. See what you think. See you on Monday.


  1. Dominik


    Yeah, okay, your Friday definitely sounds pretty refreshing. We’ve been maskless for about two weeks now, and fuck, does it feel good not to sweat under it, hah! How did you like Rick Owens’s house?

    Ah, haha, if you end up making a kinetic sand post, I’m gonna fall down that rabbit hole head-first.

    A perfect match for my yesterday love! I quite like GB Jones’s women. Thank you! Love as handsome as the Dora the Explorer popsicle above, Od.

  2. Bill

    Good to hear you’re feeling better, Dennis.

    Ah, ice. Those Catamount Lake drawings are really lovely. I have an idea or two involving ice in my notebooks somewhere, but they’re not easy to realize. I’ll just enjoy these tasty lime popsicles in my freezer for now.

    I think I saw The Conjuring years ago, but haven’t been tempted to check out the sequels.


  3. David Ehrenstein

    Ice is Nice

  4. _Black_Acrylic

    Back in the 90s the UK Channel 5 would often screen late-night Zalman King-directed erotica, with the objects of houswives’ fantasies being beefy shirtless hunks creating ice sculptures. Their work would make a worthy addition to the show today!

  5. Daniel

    Laurie Anderson: Duets on Ice (can’t stand the heat either)

  6. Steve Erickson

    And here’s a video about making music from samples of ice:

  7. Brian

    Hey, Dennis,

    Today’s post provides a much needed cool blast to close a sweltering weekend here in NY. I could’ve used that Dracula popsicle earlier today, when I was stranded in a painfully humid backyard for a family function. All of the other pieces exhibited here are great (Dry Ice Environment is especially breathtaking), and the previous two posts were wonderful as well. (Did you see Criterion’s releasing a Melvin van Peebles boxset?) Not much to report this weekend, outside of Father’s Day, which I marked by rewatching “Being John Malkovich” with my da, as it’s one of his favorites. Accidentally sliced my thumb with a large knife, which wasn’t fun, but nothing unmanageable. Busy week ahead, what with my brother’s high school graduation, prom, etc. My personal project is to track down a relatively high res subtitled version of Visconti’s “Ludwig” somewhere. Did your own weekend bear more fruit? And what lies ahead? Godspeed.

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