Investigations into the early origins of ice cream, that best loved of summertime refreshments, don’t uncover much in the way of its trajectory. Ancient Greek ruler Alexander the Great is said to have enjoyed snow flavoured with honey; Marco Polo, too, seems to have developed a penchant for the similarly formulated sherbet while travelling in the East and, come the 17th century, ‘cream ice’ appeared often at the dining table of Charles I. Little did those early tastemakers know that, centuries later, ice cream would become synonymous with the warmest months of the year, and a favourite around the world.
This month, a new exhibition at Robert Mann Gallery in New York looks at the social and cultural staying power of ice cream. The show comprises a whole range of contemporary creative media, from small 3D sculptures fashioned out of household items such as scouring sponges and lollipop sticks, as by interdisciplinary Swiss and Danish artist duo PUTPUT, to photographs by the likes of Martin Parr, Meryl Meisler and Jim Dow. I Scream, You Scream is a joyous exploration of the humble ice cream’s appearance in both art and photography over recent decades, as well as of the artistic and creative possibilities that image-makers have found in scoops, cones and lollies. Whether it’s a sunshine yellow ice lolly melting onto a fantastically bright blue background, or an irreverent (and phallic) 1935 advertisement for an ice cream cone, these photographs are bound to brighten up even the most mundane of Mondays.
I Scream, You Scream is at Robert Mann Gallery, New York, until August 18, 2017.