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From the Executive Director: Silent Contemplation of Constructed Realities

While the outcomes of yesterday’s U.S. election are still uncertain, one thing is true: a record number of votes were cast—the most since 1900! Whether you mailed, walked, drove through, or/and waited your turn in line, we count ourselves lucky to have the opportunity to be part of this process, however imperfect.

Much uncertainty awaits us in the weeks ahead. Reality doesn’t always sync with our imagination of it. One certainty is a need to take pause and reflect on this moment, as uncomfortable as that is.

Now, all we need is patience. The patience for the process to unfold. As artists have shown us time and time again, art can forge pathways through challenging times, making meaning in the process not just the outcome. Let’s remember to give ourselves space for contemplation as we make sense of the days ahead.

Tina Kukielski
Executive Director and Chief Curator
November 4, 2020

Deepen your connection to Art21

James Turrell silently contemplates constructed realities

Whether harnessing the light at sunset or transforming the glow of a television set into a fluctuating portal, James Turrell‘s work places viewers in a realm of pure experience, prompting greater self-awareness through a discipline of silent contemplation, patience, and meditation.

“This world that we have around us is not a world that we receive, but more a world that we create and make,” says Turrell, speaking from one of his first skyspaces, Second Meeting (1989).

“We are very much attached to the fact that we are receiving these perceptions as opposed to creating them. But we do create the reality in which we live.”

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James Turrell

May 17, 2013

James Turrell: “Second Meeting” is one of fourteen films included in Slow Unfolding Moments, a playlist of films featuring artists who tune their energies to develop environments that foster peacefulness for creators and viewers alike.

Upcoming workshops for educators

Join Art21 this Saturday, November 7 at 1:00 p.m. ET for the first in a series of virtual teacher workshops presented in collaboration with SFMOMA.

Exploring three different aspects of the question—”What is contemporary art?”—each workshop encourages educators to think and work like artists, using thematic, inquiry-driven processes and strategies.

The first workshop, “Materials and Processes,” examines artists whose work reflects a dynamic combination of materials, methods, concepts, and subjects that challenge traditional boundaries and defy easy definition.

Registration is free, but space is limited.

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

Events with Phyllida Barlow and Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

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

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.

All programs are free, but advance registration is required.

Stream the entire new season

The complete tenth season of Art in the Twenty-First Century is now available to stream in its entirety on Art21.org.

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 Art21.org and the PBS Video app.

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.