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Weekly Watchlist: Softening the Harsh Edges of the World

Liu Xiaodong softens the harsh edges of the world

A principal figure among the Chinese Neo-Realist painters, Liu Xiaodong depicts everyday people in his enormous oil-and-acrylic paintings, foregrounding the human dimension of global issues such as economic hardship, environmental crisis, and migration.

Employing an en plein air approach, Liu fosters a meditative space that guides him towards softening the harsh edges of the world.

“It seems everything I paint becomes more gentle and mild afterwards,” says the artist in our recent “Beijing” episode.

“Before painting, everything seems very fierce. But the world after being painted becomes very calm.”

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

Deepen your connection to Art21

14 artists who find serenity in silence

Some artists utilize the art-making practice itself as a form of meditation, concentrating on the rhythm of a recurring gesture. Others meditate on a single experience, establishing deep connections with their subjects. Some wish to relay that moment of stillness, creating a space in which viewers can find quiet for themselves.

The artists in this playlist find serenity in silence and ask us to press pause so we can find it too.

Watch the playlist.

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.

Upcoming workshops for educators

Join Art21 and Davis Publications this Tuesday, October 27 at 4:00 p.m. ET for a teacher workshop webinar.

Contemporary Art in the Secondary Classroom considers how contemporary art can be used in the high school classroom to deepen empathy, community, and engagement. Learn from a panel of expert teachers as they discuss best practices, successful lessons, and suggested content you can explore.

Register now.

Visit our education calendar for a list of upcoming workshops for educators.

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.

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.