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Art21 News Roundup: Caroline Woolard Unrolls the “@” Symbol

We’ve been keeping on the heat these past eight weeks in a record-breaking streak of film premieres here at Art21. With only two films left in our Summer of Shorts programming series, it has been such a pleasure to share the work of five new artists with you, and shed more light on the practices of some of our all-time favorites—from Theaster Gates to Vancouver’s own Stan Douglas and Jeff Wall.

This Friday we’re heading back to Los Angeles to delve deeper into the colorful work of sculptor Liz Larner, and for our final summer release on August 4th we’ll be revisiting Chicago-based artist Chris Ware, who wrestles with the difficulty of telling stories that aren’t his own.

On top of all of this, Art21 is moving offices. Thankfully our new home will be just a few blocks away. To all those—like us—moving in this summer heat, our hearts go out to you.

New Summer of Shorts Videos Featuring Jeff Wall, Stan Douglas, Aki Sasamoto, and Caroline Woolard

Jeff Wall: An Impossible Photograph

Premiered June 30, as part of the Art21 digital series Extended Play

In his Vancouver studio, artist Jeff Wall reluctantly discusses why and how he created his 2014 photograph Changing Room. Upon close examination viewers will realize that the perspective they’re seeing is that of the mirror’s–an impossible angle to capture.

“The impossibility of seeing it was one of the triggers for it becoming interesting,” says Wall. “If you pay attention to that picture and get involved in it, it will come to you. And when it comes to you it will be exciting.”

Watch the film.

Stan Douglas: Channeling Miles Davis

Premiered July 7, as part of the Art21 digital series Extended Play

Stan Douglas picks up where Miles Davis left off by creating the epic six-hour video Luanda-Kinshasa (2013). Inspired by his experience making pause button mixtapes in the 1980s, Douglas imagined a recording that combined elements of Davis’s last studio album from the 1970s, On the Corner, with Manu Dibango-inspired Afrobeat.

“Everything comes out of my experience of the world–what I’ve read, where I’ve gone, what I’ve seen, who I’ve met,” says the artist. “We’re always basing it on something. I’m just being honest [about] where it came from.”

Watch the film.

Aki Sasamoto is Feeling Stretched

Premiered July 14, as part of the Art21 digital series New York Close Up

Installation and performance artist Aki Sasamoto unwinds the logic of her latest work, Yield Point (2017), finding unexpected connections between the tension of stretched materials and the stresses we experience in everyday life.

“Lately, I notice that I’m [feeling] super stretched and tired–trying to do a day job and trying to do art–so I was interested in how much one can push yourself,” says the artist. “That’s why I went to thinking about elasticity and testing that limit.”

Watch the film.

Caroline Woolard’s Floating Possibility

Premiered July 21, as part of the Art21 digital series New York Close Up

Artist Caroline Woolard and a group of collaborators embark on Carried on Both Sides, a research-based sculptural project that reimagines the past and future of the Roman amphora. With extensive underwater photography, the film follows the artists as they experiment with their own contemporary glass amphorae, taking the ancient vessels back to the seas where they originally travelled.

“It’s interesting to think about the twentieth century imperative to produce, as compared to the twenty-first century imperative to communicate. So where will we go next?” asks Woolard. “What if the imperative to communicate is, in the future, an imperative to rest?”

Watch the film.

New Interview with Theaster Gates

Chicago & City Planning

Published July 18, 2017

In a previously unpublished interview, artist Theaster Gates talks about his childhood in Chicago, and shares how he describes his work as an artist, builder, and teacher.

“I’m an artist and I make things. Sometimes those are things that we call art and other times they seem like other things,” says Gates. “But in fact, I’m always making a pot, it just doesn’t always look like a pot.”

Read the interview.

Featured Art21 Playlist


Throughout Art21’s twenty-year history, we have shared stories featuring some of the most interesting artists of our time–artists who have pushed the boundaries of contemporary art.

In this playlist, we present artists with grand visions and blockbuster ambitions, each of whom asks viewers to question their expectations when entering an art-viewing experience, constantly and consistently upending our understanding of art.

Watch the playlist.

Highlights from the Art21 Magazine

From the July / August “Inspired by a True Story” issue:

Read the issue.

Image: Shantell Martin and Sarah Schwettmann. Mind the Machine (templates), 2017. Courtesy of the artists.

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Image: Artists Mary Heilmann and Mary Boochever at a recent Art21 Contemporary Council event at the Elaine de Kooning House in East Hampton. Photo: William Vizcarra.

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