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From the Executive Director: Ten Artists That Transcend Mediums and Materials

Welcome to the first installment of our revamped “letter from the executive director,” delivered here and to your inbox every month. The changes are subtle, but as always, the insight is not.

In each edition, I will be sharing not just what we’re putting out into the world, but also what we’re paying attention to—films, exhibitions, articles, and so on. I’ve been listening to our readers, many of whom have mentioned that they appreciate the personal perspective.

So what have we been up to so far in 2019? Lately, we’ve been hitting the editing room hard, working on new films that we’ll be premiering throughout the year starting next month. If you’ve been following us on Instagram, you may already have a sense of what’s to come.

We hope you’ll enjoy our new approach to sharing our latest happenings with you. As always, thank you for reading.

Tina Kukielski
Executive Director and Chief Curator
January 24, 2019

New films are coming…but first, watch this playlist

As mentioned, we’ve been hard at work putting the finishing touches on a new set of films, the first of which will make their way to your screens in February. Featured will be some familiar faces along with some new additions to our roster. We can’t wait to share these stories with you!

Until then, enjoy this newly-compiled playlist of ten films featuring artists whose practices aren’t limited to mediums or materials. The playlist, titled “Don’t Sweat the Technique,” features artists Lynda Benglis, Leonardo Drew, Shahzia Sikander, and Daniel Gordon, among others.

Watch these films, then visit the shows

Through our weekly collaboration with artnet News, we’ve been illuminating some of the most anticipated museum exhibitions by bringing the voices of artists to the fore.

On our radars of late have been: Bruce Nauman, who has a massive two-part show on view at the MoMA and MoMA PS1 through 2/25; Margaret Kilgallen, whose first posthumous museum exhibition, “that’s where the beauty is.,” is now open at the Aspen Art Museum through 6/16 (the title borrows from a quote spoken by the artist in our film); Vija Celmins, celebrating a five-decade-spanning retrospective at SFMOMA through 3/31; and Eddie Martinez, who introduces erasure into his practice as part of a new body of work on view at the Bronx Museum of the Arts through 2/17.

Other films that we’re watching

At a screening of short films last week that we co-curated with Raw Vision, in partnership with the Outsider Art Fair, we had the exciting opportunity to screen films featuring themes and subjects that complement those seen in our own films.

Among the favorites seen by the standing-room-only audience were: Kea’s Ark, an still-in-progress film documenting self-taught artist Kea Tawana, who built a giant ark in Newark, New Jersey during the 1980s; a film on Manchester, Tennessee-based artist Willard Hill, who began making sculptures out of everyday detritus after returning home debilitated from a hospital stay over twenty years ago; and The Living Museum, a 1998 documentary by filmmaker Jessica Yu exploring the methods practiced by Dr. Janos Martin at the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens, New York, where patients are encouraged to express themselves through art.

Join our community of educators

Hard to believe, but our Art21 Educators program just celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2018. Over those ten years, we built a growing community of educators, each of whom shares an interest in bringing contemporary art and artists into their classrooms. If contemporary art plays a role in your teaching practice, then I encourage you to apply today to join the program’s 2019 cohort.

Thank you for supporting our work

As a non-profit organization, we rely on the generosity of viewers like you to help us continue to produce engaging films and educational resources on contemporary artists and art. If you’ve felt inspired by Art21 films, please consider donating today. Your gift will ensure the stories, art, and ideas of the most innovative artists of our time continue to inspire audiences around the world. Thank you for supporting our work.