The Year Without a Summer
September 4 - October 17
This exhibition takes its title from a phenomenon that occurred in the summer of 1816 wherein many parts of the world experienced extreme weather conditions. Dramatic storms and colorful skies gave inspiration to Romantic art, as witnessed in works by J.M.W. Turner and Casper Friedrich; while poor harvests, economic decline, and civil unrest influenced Mary Shelley’s writing of Frankenstein during her summer sojourn to Lake Geneva. A century and a half later it was discovered that the eruption of Mount Tambora on the island of Sumbawa in Indonesia was the cause of this erratic shift in the world’s weather patterns, causing a famine in Switzerland and speculation that the world was ending.
Using this historical framework as a provocation, The Year Without a Summer re-examines the effects of this environmental anomaly, finding parallels with our current climate crises, while intertwining diaristic accounts of Mary Shelley and her circle, Sumbawan folklore, and Rasmussen’s own reflections traveling to the same volcano and lake during the hottest summer on record.