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Weekly Watchlist: Four Stories of Artists Confronting Global Crises

Abigail DeVille commemorates a collective assertion of freedom

A new season of Art21 film programming begins today with the first in a group of four new films.

In today’s premiere, Abigail DeVille reveals the motivation and inspiration behind her latest public art commission, Light of Freedom (2020), installed at Madison Square Park in New York City.

“I just kept thinking about the rolling waves,” said DeVille, referencing an 1857 speech by Frederick Douglas, “and just the waves of people that hooked each other, arm in arm, and protested in the face of, potentially, death, through this pandemic, to fight for whatever this nation actually pretends that it was founded or based on.”

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Abigail DeVille

January 27, 2021

Deepen your connection to Art21

Four new stories of artists confronting global crises

After a brief pause following the release of our tenth broadcast season on PBS, we are charged and ready to return today with a new programming season featuring films from our celebrated Extended Play and New York Close Up series.

Over the course of four consecutive Wednesdays at 12pm ET—starting with today’s film featuring Abigail DeVille—we’ll release each of our latest offerings on Art21.org and our YouTube channel.

Four artists—Firelei Báez, Abigail DeVille, Shaun Leonardo, and Michael Rakowitz—confront social, political, and institutional crises impacting cultures around the world, collectively capturing a portrait of contemporary history in the making, connecting personal and global experiences that play out across generations.

See the film guide.

Catching up with Abigail DeVille

Prior to her premiere today in our Extended Play series, Abigail DeVille was previously featured in three films from our New York Close Up series.

Documenting the artist for more than half a decade, the four films collectively capture DeVille’s interest in bringing attention to the forgotten stories of marginalized people and places through immersive installations and performances.

Stream all four Abigail DeVille features.

Upcoming workshops for educators

Join Art21 for three virtual teacher workshops being offered in February.

Tom di Maria of Creative Growth Art Center joins us on Tuesday, February 2, at 6:00 p.m. ET for a virtual conversation on the history of artists with disabilities, how Creative Growth Art Center operates today, and the center’s place in contemporary art. Registration is free, but space is limited.

The second iteration of Artists Reshaping Narratives, a workshop presented in collaboration with The Museum of Modern Art, takes place remotely on Tuesday, February 9 at 5:00 p.m. ET. Through modeling of guided inquiry and activities, learn how contemporary art can be used with students to inspire critical thinking and conversation in the classroom. Registration is free, but space is limited.

Art and Health, taking place online on Tuesday, February 23 at 6:00 p.m. ET, is an intersectional workshop designed to explore contemporary works created in direct response to health disparities during this time of both the COVID-19 pandemic and the Movement for Black Lives. 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

More than ever, online access to the lives and stories of artists is crucial, and Art21 is proud to share them with 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.