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From the Executive Director: In Search of Our Collective Enlightenment

In rounding the corner of the U.S. election and awaiting the turn of an interminable year, I struggle to make sense of where we have come. What have we learned? With so much strife and continued suffering, there must be a crystalline lesson to make sense of a crumbling world.

If one thing became clear this year, it is that imperfections are rampant. To some of us, what is wrong is obvious. To others, it’s more murky. Our best hope is that—with time—our collective enlightenment will be found.

This moment of suspension has proven that as humans, we are adaptable in ways beyond our wildest expectations. It is manifest in our tireless health care professionals, the grandmothers who now Zoom, and all the frontline workers who risk their lives each day.

As last week’s news of Utah’s mysterious monolith reminded us—revealed and then quickly concealed—we have to wait for answers.

Yours in suspension,

Tina Kukielski
Susan Sollins Executive Director and Chief Curator
December 2, 2020

Deepen your connection to Art21

Mariah Robertson comes to grips with the uncontrollable

From her Brooklyn darkroom, Mariah Roberston experiments with photographic chemistry, leading to a striking series of colorful cameraless abstractions—images that appear to have optical or painterly effects, but instead are the result of arrested chemical reactions.

“All your attempts are going to fail at controlling life,” suggests Robertson, “so you should let that go so you can actually see what’s happening.”

Playlist: Don’t Sweat the Technique

LaToya Ruby Frazier poses in costume in front of a Levi’s advertisement, New York, 2010. Production still from the New York Close Up film “LaToya Ruby Frazier Takes on Levi’s“. © Art21, Inc. 2011.

Creative breakthroughs are the product of resolute experimentation and broadened practices. In discovering a new medium, artists in many ways learn a new language and a new avenue of creative expression.

In this playlist, artists bounce between mediums, pulling techniques from one form and applying them to another.

Watch the playlist.

Upcoming workshops for educators

Join Art21 this Saturday, December 5 at 1:00 p.m. ET for the next 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.

This Saturday’s workshop, “Place,” examines artists whose practices are driven by the dynamics of where an artwork is made and where it is shown.

The workshop is virtual and can be attended from anywhere.

Registration is free, but space is limited.

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

Thank you for supporting our work

Your indispensable, generous donations make our work possible. With safety measures in place, Art21 has resumed on-site film shoots and will release films in the coming year, and will produce even more digital education programs allowing for multiple avenues to discover and interact with contemporary art. Resources that are in higher demand now than ever before.

If you are able at this time, please consider making a year-end contribution to Art21. Your donation helps to ensure artists’ voices have a lasting impact for generations to come.