Art:21 - Art in the 21st Century

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Art:21 - Art in the 21st Century is a PBS series, educational resource, archive, and history of contemporary art. It premiered in 2001, and is now broadcast in over 50 countries worldwide. Premiering a new season every two years, Art:21 is the only series on United States television to focus exclusively on contemporary visual art and artists.

Episode Description

1

Place

Introduction by Laurie Anderson

2

Identity

Introduction by Steve Martin, and William Wegman

3

Spirituality

Introduction by Beryl Korot and S. Epatha Merkerson

4

Consumption

Introduction by Barbara Kruger
Episode Description

1

Stories

Introduction by John Waters

2

Loss and Desire

Introduction by Jane Anderson

3

Humor

Introduction by Margaret Cho

4

Time

Introduction by Merce Cunningham
Episode Description

1

Power

Introduction by David Alan Grier

2

Memory

How does memory function? What is history? How do contemporary artists frame the past in their work? The "Art in the Twenty-First Century" documentary “Memory” explores these questions through the work of the artists Susan Rothenberg, Mike Kelley, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Josiah McElheny, and concludes with an original video artwork by Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler. Introduction by Isabella Rossellini

3

Structures

How do we organize life? What are the ways in which we capture knowledge and attempt greater understanding? The "Art in the Twenty-First Century" documentary “Structures” explores these questions in the work of the artists Roni Horn, Matthew Ritchie, Fred Wilson, and Richard Tuttle, and concludes with an original video artwork by Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler. Introduction by Sam Waterston

4

Play

Spontaneous and joyful, subversive or amusing, play can take many forms in daily life as well as in contemporary art. The "Art in the Twenty-First Century" documentary “Play” explores the work of the artists Oliver Herring, Arturo Herrera, Jessica Stockholder, and Ellen Gallagher, and concludes with an original video artwork by Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler. Introduction by Grant Hill
Episode Description

1

Romance

What role do intuition, emotion, fantasy, and escapism play in contemporary art? The "Art in the Twenty-First Century" documentary “Romance” explores these questions in the work of the artists Pierre Huyghe, Judy Pfaff, Lari Pittman, and Laurie Simmons.

2

Protest

How do contemporary artists engage politics, inequality, and the many conflicts that besiege the world today? How do artists use their work to discuss or oppose misery, turmoil, and injustice? The "Art in the Twenty-First Century" documentary “Protest” explores these questions in the work of the artists Jenny Holzer, Alfredo Jaar, An-My Lê, and Nancy Spero.

3

Ecology

How is our understanding of the natural world deeply cultural? The "Art in the Twenty-First Century" documentary “Ecology” explores these questions in the work of the artists Robert Adams, Mark Dion, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, and Ursula von Rydingsvard.

4

Paradox

How do contemporary artists address contradiction, ambiguity, and truth? The "Art in the Twenty-First Century" documentary “Paradox” explores these questions in the work of the artists Allora & Calzadilla, Mark Bradford, Robert Ryman, and Catherine Sullivan.
Episode Description

1

Compassion

Might a work of art move us to temper our more destructive impulses? In what ways do artists’ feelings of empathy contribute to works that tackle problematic subjects and address the human condition? The "Art in the Twenty-First Century" documentary “Compassion” explores these questions in the work of the artists William Kentridge, Doris Salcedo, and Carrie Mae Weems.

2

Fantasy

How might desires and taboos shape our ability to imagine? What role does technology play in wish fulfillment? The "Art in the Twenty-First Century" documentary “Fantasy” explores these questions in the work of the artists Jeff Koons, Mary Heilmann, Florian Maier-Aichen, and Cao Fei.

3

Transformation

Costumes and masks, makeup and style, dolls & mannequins, stage and cinema—what strategies do we use to refashion identity? Do we seek out excess and extremes in order to see ourselves more clearly? The "Art in the Twenty-First Century" documentary “Transformation” explores these questions in the work of the artists Yinka Shonibare MBE, Cindy Sherman, and Paul McCarthy.

4

Systems

What new grammars and logics do artists invent in today’s supercharged, information-based society? Why do we find comfort in some systems while rebelling against others? The "Art in the Twenty-First Century" documentary “Systems” explores these questions in the work of the artists Julie Mehretu, John Baldessari, Kimsooja, and Allan McCollum.
Episode Description

1

Change

How do artists respond to a world in flux? In what ways do artists act as agents of change, and what kinds of aesthetic choices do they make to express it? This episode features artists who bear witness, through their work, to transformation—cultural, material, and aesthetic—and actively engage communities as collaborators and subjects. Artists: Ai Weiwei, Catherine Opie, El Anatsui

2

Boundaries

Who and what limits our freedom of expression? In what ways do cultural differences affect our understanding of art and other forms of communication? How do an artist’s process and choice of medium affect our perception of his or her work? This episode features artists who synthesize disparate aesthetic traditions, present taboo subject matter, discover innovative uses of media, and explore the shape-shifting potential of the human figure. Artists: assume vivid astro focus, David Altmejd, Lynda Benglis, Tabaimo

3

History

How do artists mine the past to explore the present? Why do some historical events shape the way we think today, and why have some been forgotten? In what ways do artists use their own histories to examine the human condition? In this episode, artists play with historical events, explore and expose commonly held assumptions about historic ‘truth’, and create narratives based on personal experiences. Artists: Glenn Ligon, Marina Abramović, Mary Reid Kelley

4

Balance

In what ways can art convey equilibrium or disequilibrium? What is reality? How do artists perceive and express it? This episode features artists whose works explore the distinctions between balance and imbalance, and demonstrate that the smallest change in a line, a formal element, or a structure can be a radical proposition. Artists: Rackstraw Downes, Robert Mangold, Sarah Sze
Episode Description

1

Investigation

How do artists push beyond what they already know and readily see? Can acts of engagement and exploration be works of art in themselves? In this episode, artists use their practices as tools for personal and intellectual discovery, simultaneously documenting and producing new realities in the process. Artists: Thomas Hirschhorn, Graciela Iturbide, Leonardo Drew

2

Secrets

How do artists make the invisible visible? What hidden elements persist in their work? Is it the artist’s role to reveal them, or not? In this episode, artists share some of the secrets that are intrinsic to their work. Artists: Elliott Hundley, Arlene Shechet, Trevor Paglen

3

Legacy

Why do we break with some traditions and perpetuate others? Artists in this episode use life experiences and family heritage to explore new aesthetic terrain. Artists: Tania Bruguera, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Wolfgang Laib

4

Fiction

What makes a compelling story? How do artists disrupt everyday reality in the service of revealing subtler truths? This episode features artists who explore the virtues of ambiguity, mix genres, and merge aesthetic disciplines to discern not simply what stories mean, but how and why they come to have meaning. Artists: Katharina Grosse, Joan Jonas, Omer Fast
Episode Description

1

Chicago

The Season 8 premiere spotlights artists in Chicago, including Nick Cave, who creates "Soundsuits"; installation artist Theaster Gates; photography-based, multi-medium artist Barbara Kasten; and Chris Ware, who's known for his New Yorker magazine covers.

2

Mexico City

Mexico City artists exit their homes and studios to use the growing megalopolis as their canvas. The artists present everyday materials as artworks, mine recognizable images for their poetic potential, and take their art to the streets.

3

Los Angeles

While sprawling Los Angeles has world-class museums and art schools, artists working in the shadow of the entertainment industry are more "under the radar," affording them the space and time to imagine.

3

Los Angeles

While sprawling Los Angeles has world-class museums and art schools, artists working in the shadow of the entertainment industry are more "under the radar," affording them the space and time to imagine.

3

Los Angeles

While sprawling Los Angeles has world-class museums and art schools, artists working in the shadow of the entertainment industry are more "under the radar," affording them the space and time to imagine.

4

Vancouver

By recreating historical moments, staging photos of vernacular scenes, and crafting intricate sculptures that trick the eye, artists in Vancouver reveal how everyday images and moments from the past are not always what they seem.