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From the Executive Director: Kicking Off Our New Film Programming

Our film series New York Close Up is hitting its stride early in 2019 thanks to a slate of new young artists entering our horizon and a recently reimagined visual identity for the series. Check out our two latest films to see the new look in action. I know there are many Oscar-nominated contenders to catch up on in the next few days, but trust me when I say that recent New York Close Up releases with artists Kevin Beasley and Doreen Garner are must-watch content.

In 2011, we debuted the New York Close Up series with a pair of films featuring Kalup Linzy and Shana Moulton. And now, with over 30 artists featured across over 80 films, the series continues bringing the stories of emerging New York City-based artists to viewers around the world. Two weeks ago, we announced films in the works with several artists new-to-the-Art21-family including Jes Fan, Dan Herschlein, Maryam Hoseini, and Elle Pérez. With a new look and new voices to match, New York Close Up plans to deliver big throughout the spring and fall.

As I write this, we are a few months into conceiving the next season of our Art in the Twenty-First Century series. Many of you are certainly very familiar with that series—it’s been the cornerstone of our organization for over 20 years now. It is in these periods of curatorial research that as an organization, we retool our thinking, open ourselves up to artist voices further afield, and quite frankly, refresh ourselves with new perspectives. Garner’s film released this week talks about her practice of tattooing as a “rite of passage” and like the start of any new year, we are also doing a bit of that. Join us in the discovery.

Tina Kukielski
Executive Director and Chief Curator
February 22, 2019

A playlist to celebrate Black History Month

To celebrate Black History Month, we put together a playlist of films featuring artists who pay tribute to the past while keeping sights on the broader narratives in the making around art history.

The late Jack Whitten embodied this spirit through his “Black Monoliths” series of abstract paintings. Whitten began the series in the early 1980s as a way to memorialize figures who have impacted his life as an artist and a citizen. “I have to locate the essence of that person,” he said. “That person becomes a symbol and I build that into the paint.”

Watch the full playlist for stories featuring Rashid Johnson, Ellen Gallagher, Theaster Gates, Glenn Ligon, Laylah Ali, and more.

Watch these films, then visit the shows

It’s not considered an escape from the cold to see art during the winter months when seeing art is exactly what you want to be doing—cold or not! With the winter exhibition season upon us, we have a growing list of shows to check out.

Our weekly collaboration with artnet News highlights a few of the exhibitions that we’re most excited about, including: Jordan Casteel‘s first major museum show, happening in her hometown at the Denver Art Museum; Lucas Blalock, also celebrating a debut museum solo exhibition, at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; a career-spanning exhibition of Graciela Iturbide‘s photographs capturing her native Mexico, on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; a new installation by Nicholas Hlobo on view at the SCAD Museum of Art inspired by the history of the American South; and Liz Magor‘s new body of work currently on view at Harvard University’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts.

Join our community of educators

The response to our call for applications for our Art21 Educators 2019–2020 cohort has been incredible. Wow! We’ve always known for there to be an inspiring amount of enthusiasm in the educator community, and that energy has shown through and through in the month since we opened the application process. The application deadline is still a month away, so there’s plenty of time between now and March 25 to send in your applications.

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.