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Weekly Watchlist: Artists Who Resist Distractions in the Studio

Guan Xiao resists modern pressures

Our spring 2021 season continues today with the third of four new films.

Working on a series of sculptures in her Beijing studio, Guan Xiao exercises a resistance to the distractions and expectations of modern times.

Examining a cultural and generational shift amongst Chinese artists and art patrons, Guan identifies a bellwether opportunity for her and her peers to subvert subjective pressures.

“Everything an artist does is to express their sense of freedom,” says the artist.

“To break our ideas free of the frames that are holding them in. That is actually what is political.”

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Guan Xiao

April 28, 2021

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Liz Magor resurrects neglected objects

Liz Magor makes uncannily realistic casts of humble objects—garments, cardboard boxes, ashtrays—that speak to mortality and local histories.

By resurrecting uncared for items and moments from the recent past, Magor preserves faint whispers of life in artworks that function as fossils do—exacting copies of existence.

“My main talent is my ability to pay attention,” says Magor.

“There are many things in the world that live in this nether zone—this non-zone, this not-needed zone—and so I pay attention to these things, and through that effort, I’ll change their status.”

A talk for educators with Stephanie Syjuco

Join Art21 and Brooklyn Museum on Monday, May 10, at 6:30 p.m. ET for an education-focused artist talk with Stephanie Syjuco.

The artist will explore how contemporary art and arts education can support culturally inclusive, antiracist teaching. Presenters will also share strategies and resources to help students engage critically with themes presented by Syjuco.

The program is free and will take place via Zoom.

Register now.

Recommendations from Art21 staff

Watch: Isabel on HBO Max

Recently binged through a mini-series of one of the most significant authors of Latin America, Isabel Allende. It doesn’t aim to paint a perfect picture of a legendary writer but rather recognize the humanity that defines a feminist, mother, and ambitious professional. It inevitably presents a (magical) realist story of a creative and her love affair with writing. I recommend watching in the original Spanish audio.

Shared by Lolita Fierro, Associate Director, Major Gifts and Special Events; Watch now on HBO Max (with subscription)

Visit: Art and sunsets along the Hudson

If you’re still a little COVID-shy, I totally understand, but…if you’re craving a little pre-pandemic art world normalcy and a feeling of spring re-awakening, I’m recommending an end-of-day gallery tour. My fully-masked route around Chelsea in Manhattan last Saturday took me to the always uplifting Keltie Ferris at Mitchell-Innes & Nash and Richard Mosse‘s dense and acidic aerial photography at both Jack Shainman locations.

But between you and me, the art was really just a prelude to eating my early evening snack (a very substantial side of onion rings from the New York Burger Company) at the end of Pier 62 along the Hudson River—watching the tourist boat tours, teen skaters, Hoboken sunset, and general sense of New York City life. New Jersey can give New Yorkers the most dramatic and inspiring sunsets and we should be grateful.

Shared by Nick Ravich, Director of Video Programming and Production; Keltie Ferris: Feeling is on view at Mitchell-Innes & Nash through May 29; Richard Mosse: Tristes Tropiques is on view at the 20th and 24th Street locations of Jack Shainman Gallery through May 15

Four new films devoted to artists motivated by feminisms

Clockwise from top-left: Loie Hollowell, Guan Xiao, Rachel Rossin, Lynn Hershman Leeson. © Art21, Inc. 2021.

We are pleased to unveil our second new group of releases for 2021. Following last month’s conclusion to our winter programming, our spring season continues today with the third of four new films premiering over the next four Wednesdays on Art21.org and our YouTube channel.

Four artists—Guan Xiao, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Loie Hollowell, and Rachel Rossin—complicate public and private, tradition and innovation, commanding transformative artworks in the face of social, generational, and individual adversities.

Tune in for a new film every Wednesday at 12:00 p.m. ET through May 5.

See the film guide.

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.