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From the Executive Director: Rethinking Ways Around Dilemmas

Looking back to where we were six months ago, it wasn’t a given that we would premiere our new season on PBS as originally planned. Our gala was canceled. Staff went home to work from their living rooms, bedrooms and, in some cases, bathrooms. Shoots with artists and their exhibitions were put on indefinite hold. Our typical post-production process had to be quickly rethought. Old ways of doing things were entirely retooled.

And then, we witnessed a steady uptick in our viewership at Art21.org. Films made years previous were getting newfound attention as a captive audience at home made meaningful and relevant narrative connections. Our education following grew exponentially as teachers and parents began tuning in to Art21’s library of stories, employing them as prompts for learning. It gives me pride to say: the team leaned into this moment, overcame the uncertainty, and found much needed energy from our audiences at home. Now, days following the release of three new hours of film and twelve unique stories—all of which premiered on schedule, without delay—we are taking a moment to reflect on our work.

How to rethink a way around dilemmas is something we learn well from our “Borderlands” program, where artists Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Tanya Aguiñiga, Richard Misrach, and Postcommodity lead us on a path of rediscovery. In that film, we see the space where the U.S. and Mexico meet, becoming a site of agitation, catharsis, resistance, and reunion. I’ve learned from this group of artists that Juárez-El Paso is the largest binational metropolis in the western hemisphere. It is essentially one giant city; its inhabitants are deeply intertwined at the most basic level. My perception of the border had been erroneously bifurcating space, place, and people. It took the artists’ way to demonstrate how it can be “sutured” back together, to borrow the words of artist collective Postcommodity, a strategy adopted in their work Repellent Fence.

We need a lot of suturing right now, and we have artists to thank for showing us how to knit the stitches. Thank you to all the artists who lend their time and voices to making our new season especially moving and cathartic. Thank you for showing us the way.

Tina Kukielski
Executive Director and Chief Curator
October 7, 2020

Deepen your connection to Art21

Stream the full new season

The complete tenth season of Art in the Twenty-First Century is now available to stream in its entirety.

Stream full artist segments—twelve individual films in total—on demand exclusively from Art21.org.

On Art21.live, our always-on streaming channel, the full season airs daily at 8:00 and 4:00 ET.

Each of the three full hour-long episodes—”London,” “Beijing,” and “Borderlands“—can be streamed from PBS and the PBS Video app.

Extended presentation of “Borderlands”

To complement the interweaving narrative approach of the “Borderlands” episode, Art21 proudly presents an extended look at each of the artists introduced in the original film.
Edited to focus on a singular artist narrative, each of the four extended segments contains original material not included in the television broadcast.

All four extended segments are exclusive to Art21.org and Art21.live.

Each film also premiered throughout the week on the Art21 YouTube channel. The fourth and final segment will premiere tomorrow, October 8, at noon ET.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to receive immediate notifications.

Recommendations from Art21

Watch: Aggie

A new documentary showcasing the life and work of collector, arts patron, and social justice champion, Agnes Gund, premieres this week. Emmy-nominated director, Catherine Gund, offers viewers an intimate portrayal of her mother’s lifelong dedication to art and justice, and its power to effect social change.

Shared by Lolita Fierro, Associate Director, Major Gifts and Special Events; Watch now during its virtual theatrical release through Film Forum, or rent via most streaming services beginning October 16

Events with Phyllida Barlow, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, and Richard Misrach

Join us from anywhere for a series of special digital programs to complement the new season of Art in the Twenty-First Century.

All events will take place via Zoom.

Richard Misrach will be joined by Sarah Meister (Curator, Robert B. Menschel Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art) for a screening and conversation on Tuesday, October 27 at 5:30 p.m. ET. Register now.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer will be joined by Kerry Doyle (Director, Rubin Center at The University of Texas at El Paso) for a screening and conversation on Wednesday, November 11 at 6:00 p.m. ET. Register now.

Phyllida Barlow will be joined by Daniel Baumann (Director, Kunsthalle Zürich) for a screening and conversation on Tuesday, November 24 at 1:00 p.m. ET. Register now.

Admission is free, but advance registration is required. Details will be sent with registration.

Screen the new season with your community

Screening Society is an international free screening initiative created to increase knowledge of contemporary art, spark dialogue, and inspire creative thinking for a global audience.

For the 2020 edition—reimagined as a digital-first experience—Art21 invites a wide variety of partners such as schools, universities, libraries, museums, nonprofit organizations, galleries, arts and cultural spaces, community centers, and more to host screenings from the latest season that are free and open to the public.

Visit Screening Society to learn how to host or attend a screening.

Thank you for supporting our work

More than ever, online access to the lives and stories of artists is crucial, and Art21 is proud to share them with welcome an ever-growing number of visitors including students, teachers, parents, and art enthusiasts alike from around the globe. If you are able at this time, please consider supporting the work of Art21. Every dollar makes a difference.