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Weekly Watchlist: Examining the Complex Histories of Race and Colonialism

John Akomfrah connects global and personal histories

Through video installations that blend archival and original materials, John Akomfrah connects the global legacies of slavery and colonialism to environmental degradation and his personal biography.

“The essence of all experiments—be it in politics or aesthetics or narrative—is that there has to be a way in which the past, present, and the future can be brought into some sort of whole,” says Akomfrah in our recent “London” episode.

“Once you’ve understood that you are a product of things, you can’t shake off realizing that from across your life.”

Read more about the artist in a recent installment of our weekly collaboration with Artnet News.

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Yinka Shonibare CBE probes the legacies of race and colonialism

Yinka Shonibare CBE’s 2010 commission for the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square, Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, referenced the complex heritage of British colonialism and its multicultural present.

“My work is a way of somehow thinking about ‘why,'” said Shonibare. “Why are the people of African origin in Europe and America…why do they have such a raw deal?”

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Yinka Shonibare CBE RA

June 18, 2010

Eleanor Antin blends politics and comedy

Illustrated by two works made nearly forty years apart, Eleanor Antin describes her use of paper dolls to create politically charged sculptures and videos.

“My work has always been political, has always been comic, and also sad,” says Antin.

“Life is a mixture of the absurd, the comic, and the disastrous.”

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Eleanor Antin

June 29, 2016

Stream the entire new season

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

Full artist segments—twelve individual films in total, including four extended segments featuring artists from the “Borderlands” episode—can be streamed 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 Video app.

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.