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From the Executive Director: Listen To An Artist

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Some of us feel a surge of creativity at the moment. Others have entered a state of pure ennui.

I’ve observed that the artists with whom we collaborate at Art21 have a range of responses to this polarizing time. The need to do something is as real as the need to not do something. For some of us, it’s enough to just be.

I am reminded that none of us in the cultural sphere would have purpose without the work of artists. We at Art21 give a platform to artists and their ideas. We need these voices now, and for reasons well known, they are in peril.

Ironically, we are inundated with quick options for distraction—and the displacement from the streets have caused a great noise across digital spaces. At Art21, we are fortunate that digital has long been the bedrock of our programming. We recognize that our audiences’ needs at this moment are quite different—amplified on the one hand, attenuated at the other—yet we remain consistent in our program.

An upturned world presents real dilemmas at the same time that it offers distinct opportunities. One particular opportunity that we see in clear view is one that has always been an Art21 guidepost: to listen.

We encourage you, right now and always, to listen to an artist. We have many options for that, delivered in countless forms, but also respect that you might be enjoying the silence, too.

Tina Kukielski
Executive Director and Chief Curator
April 1, 2020

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When do you feel the most like you?

Through a recent interview conducted during the artist’s Tulsa Artist Fellowship, Kalup Linzy recalls his journey towards finding freedom in character.

One time, MoMA asked me to perform at one of their mini conferences. I left the room and put on my character, Taiwan. Then I sat in the meeting because there wasn’t enough time to change [out of character]. Once I had made the shift [to Taiwan], Marina Abramović commented that I looked more comfortable as a character than I did as myself. And I realized I was totally comfortable because, on some level, I’m there but I’m not there. Then I started wondering which one was the mask: Taiwan or Kalup?

Read the full article.

Link roundup of artist projects

Though there is an incredible volume of new and exciting digital content competing for our attention, we are glad to see so many Art21-featured artists doing their part to surround us with their creativity during these times.

Here are a few projects on our radars:

Staff picks for things to watch, read, and hear

Listen: Love Will Find A Way Home by PAT (Jacolby Satterwhite and Nick Weiss)

Despite learning to appreciate the quiet rhythms of quarantine life, I find myself missing the sense of community generated by queer nightlife in New York. Artist Jacolby Satterwhite’s experimental album Love Will Find a Way Home, made in collaboration with his late mother, now serves as a much-needed proxy for spaces that are currently on pause. Patricia Satterwhite’s lyrics such as “in the silence of your day, chase your cares away” and “you’re not alone, you’re at home” have also found new meaning.

Shared by Ian Forster, Producer; Available now on Bandcamp and your streaming platform of choice

Read: Shrill by Lindy West

My sister sent this to me as a birthday gift and I loved it so much, I couldn’t put it down. The author tackles a lot of very big issues, but I still laughed out loud a lot. Highly recommended! (Also, it’s been adapted into a show on Hulu with Aidy Bryant which is also very good, so this is a double recommendation!)

Shared by Lauren Barnett, Director of Development; Available now from your retailer of choice

Watch: Blast from the Past

If quarantine is starting to feel like a 35-year stay in an underground fallout shelter, this is the film for you! In all truth, this film does not stand the test of time, but it’s a lighthearted and fun break from reality. And maybe you can glean some quarantine tips from Christopher Walken’s character, or at least laugh at how ridiculous the 90s were (remember that swing music revival period? Yeah, that’s in this movie).

Shared by Danielle Brock, Assistant Curator; Available now from your retailer of choice

Watch/Listen: Sleaford Mods perform “Jobseeker” on Later… with Jools Holland

A rabbit hole of stay-at-home internetting spurred by a strange Twitter listening party eventually led me to this incredible 2015 performance by Sleaford Mods. Wow. These four minutes perfectly capture the energy, sincerity, and performative mastery of this group.

Shared by Jonathan Munar, Director of Digital; Watch now on YouTube

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