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Art21 News Roundup: Julie Mehretu Recontextualizes the History of American Landscape Painting

Last week we released a special Extended Play film on Julie Mehretu’s monumental commission for the new SFMOMA. Art21 was granted exclusive access to film the artist and her team at work over the course of a year to create this ten-minute short.

While we’ve been busy releasing films online, Art21 films have been screening in museums all over the world: the British Museum, the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, and SFMOMA to name a few. To screen an Art21 film at your organization, reach out to us. We have many more new films in the works, all set to premiere throughout the coming year.

Next summer we’ll open registration for the Art21 Screening Society, which offers organizations the unique opportunity to screen an episode of our upcoming biennial broadcast series Art in the Twenty-First Century, free of charge. To receive an email when registration opens, sign up for the Art21 Screening Society email list, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to be the first in the know about fall film releases and all things Season 9.

New Video Featuring Julie Mehretu

Julie Mehretu: Politicized Landscapes

Premiered September 13, as part of the Art21 digital series Extended Play

Shown working on two site-specific paintings for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Julie Mehretu recontextualizes the history of American landscape painting by merging its sublime imagery with the harsh realities not depicted.

“What does it mean to paint a landscape and be an artist in this political moment?” she asks from the decommissioned Harlem church used as her studio for the project.

Watch the film.

Featured Art21 Playlist


Site-specific works are created in dialogue with their surroundings–the location of their installation is a part of the work itself. Remove a site-specific artwork from its intended place, and the work loses some, or even all, of its meaning. As Richard Serra famously said about his 1981 installation Tilted Arc, “To remove the work is to destroy the work.”

These artists use place as a jumping off point, creating works informed by the environment in which viewers encounter them.

Watch the playlist.

Highlights from the Art21 Magazine

From the September / October “Invention” issue:

  • NEW INC director Julia Kaganskiy joins the magazine as guest editor, and introduces the issue by drawing an important distinction between invention and innovation.
  • Philadelphia writer Heather Holmes offers her thoughts on Cai Guo-Qiang’s Fireflies project and the power of public space.

Read the issue.

Image: Cai Guo-Qiang. Fireflies, 2017. Photo: Jeff Fusco. Courtesy Association for Public Art.

Featured Video from the Art21 Library

Julie Mehretu: Workday

From the Art21 digital series Extended Play

Filmed in her Berlin studio, Julie Mehretu discusses the ups and downs of her daily studio practice.

“Sometimes it can take days to know what to do next,” says the artist. “I think that’s part of the work, just being in here, just looking at the work for a long time, and really realizing the painting.”

Watch the film.

Join Art21

Become a member of Art21 today and receive a limited edition Lucas Blalock-designed tote bag, made exclusively for our generous community of artists, collectors, art professionals, and film enthusiasts.Become a member of Art21 today and receive a limited edition Lucas Blalock-designed tote bag, made exclusively for our generous community of artists, collectors, art professionals, and film enthusiasts.

As an Art21 member, you will enjoy inimitable access to some of today’s greatest artists through special events, studio visits, collection tours, and more, all while supporting the production of Art21’s award-winning films.

As part of Art21 membership, you will also receive:

  • Member newsletters with updates on our artists, films, and programs
  • Invitations to private screenings and member events
  • Recognition on Art21.org
  • VIP access to major art fairs throughout the year

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