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Weekly Watchlist: Artists Who Wield Powerful Tools

Cao Fei captures the mixtures and divergences of cultures

Employing strategies of sampling, role play, and documentary filmmaking to capture the ways in which individuals imagine themselves, Cao Fei reveals the discrepancy between reality and dream, and the discontent and disillusionment of China’s younger generation.

“Our generation has grown up in a fluid and mobile environment where cultures mix and diverge,” says the artist in our “Fantasy” episode.

“If I had grown up just focusing on the written word or photography or still images, my way of thinking would have been totally different.”

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Deepen your connection to Art21

12 artists who wield powerful tools

Doreen Garner hosts a pop-up tattoo shop at Recess, Brooklyn, NY, 2018. Production still from the New York Close Up film, “Doreen Garner’s Invisible Man Tattoo.” © Art21, Inc. 2019.

“The more intimate you are with your tools,” said artist Beryl Korot, “the more you can tell your story.”

From blow torches to tattoo guns and video cameras to digital renderings, artists employ a variety of power tools to bring their creative visions to life.

Our Tools of the Trade playlist is a celebration of technique and vision, exploring the diverse tool sets from which artists create.

Watch the playlist.

Apply to join our community of educators

The Art21 Educators program is now accepting applications for the 2021–2022 cohort. Are you looking for creative inspiration in your teaching? Do you want to gain a new community of collaborators? Is it time for your practice to be challenged by artists and peer educators from across the nation?

Submit your application by March 31, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Recommendations from Art21 staff

Read: An Atlas of Rare and Familiar Colour: The Harvard Art Museums’ Forbes Pigment Collection

An interesting read from page one, with a lot of fascinating (and sometimes repugnant) historical notes about pigments and their origin, plus beautiful photos. I’m finding it inspiring in my daily practice and also quite soothing to read. I’m thinking about my paints/art supplies in a whole new way!

Shared by Lauren Barnett, Director of Development; Available now from your book retailer of choice

Follow: @hoodmidcenturymodern on Instagram

This account is like a road trip across America where mid-century masterpieces are appreciated at every stop. Whether it’s an apartment building in Kentucky, a gas station in Los Angeles, or New York’s Guggenheim Museum, each building is celebrated with equal enthusiasm.

Shared by Ian Forster, Producer; Follow @hoodmidcenturymodern on Instagram

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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.