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Weekly Watchlist: Six Films Capturing Artists’ “Big Pivot” Moments

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“Artist Pivots” on Art21.live

Streaming exclusively on our always-on streaming channel, Art21.live, “Artist Pivots” features six films capturing artists’ “big pivot” moments—bouncing between mediums, experimenting with techniques, and introducing new approaches to their creative practices.

Included are films featuring Jack Whitten, Daniel Gordon, Shahzia Sikander, Marina Abramović, and Eleanor Antin.

The presentation culminates with the latest film from our New York Close Up series, “Bryan Zanisnik’s Big Pivot“—a universal story of one person’s quest for financial stability, creative joy, and the best in Swedish pastry.

“Artist Pivots” airs at 11:30, 3:30, and 7:30 ET daily on Art21.live through April 22.

Tune in.

How does community intensify ingenuity?

From his neighborhood in Harlem, composer Jason Moran describes the relationship between the multidisciplinary community of artists around him and his own creative practice.

I have to live in Harlem just to say, “I’m part of that history that started in the Harlem Renaissance.” Duke Ellington and Langston Hughes were talking to people like Aaron Douglas. These relationships between the image and sound were like this; people are in each other’s faces, trying to make provocative work. I wanted to create a community for myself, one surrounded by filmmakers, writers, and poets; photographers, painters, and curators; dancers, choreographers, and actors. There was a community—not just of musicians. I love my musicians, but I also know that history gets richer if it’s in dialogue with someone else. I’ve always enjoyed running into people like Julie on the street, Thelma Golden or Sanford Biggers, and all the people who live uptown. We know we have a community here. There’s much more to learn from adjacent practices.

Read the full article.

Staff picks for things to watch, read, and hear

Listen: Burl Ives Sings Little White Duck and Other Children’s Favorites

Admittedly, I have started listening to this album even after my 8-month-old goes to sleep. It’s so good. Once an itinerant musician, Ives brings such joy to this collection of folk classics with his soulful voice. My favorite Ives maxim: “Watch the donut, not the whole!”

Shared by Tina Kukielski, Executive Director and Chief Curator; Available now on your streaming platform of choice

Read: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

I’ve owned this copy since high school, read a few chapters in college, and finally realized what more apt time than a pandemic to read it cover to cover. While problematic in many areas (mainly Eurocentrism), the sheer scope of information and time Diamond covers in 400 pages is masterful. Highly recommend, if only to consider that diseases linked to animal interactions existed for thousands of years. Smallpox blighted humans from the ancient Egyptians through the twentieth century, which puts waiting a year for a vaccine in startling perspective.

Shared by Emma Nordin, Manager of Education Initiative; Available now from your retailer of choice

Watch: 2 Lizards by Meriem Bennani and Orian Barki on Instagram

This Instagram series is one of the best artist responses I’ve seen to the very strange times we’re all living in today. Already four episodes in since mid-March, the shorts are totally-in-tune-with-the-moment mix of documentary exteriors, digital character animation, and unscripted dialogue voiced by the creators, finding unexpected poignancy in our currently emptied out lives. A beautifully intuitive, self-reflexive work of social media for a time when our social lives are nearly exclusively mediated.

Shared by Nick Ravich, Director of Video Programming and Production; Follow @meriembennani on Instagram

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