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Weekly Watchlist: Tanya Aguiñiga Locates Her Lineage

As with many artists, a pivotal moment in Tanya Aguiñiga’s life came when she had the opportunity to learn from the right teacher. In Aguiñiga’s case, her moment came while studying under artist and educator Wendy Maruyama. Until that point, Aguiñiga had a hard time feeling empowered to make work that spoke to her experience as someone who grew up in a working class family along the U.S.-Mexico border. But Maruyama gave Aguiñiga license to incorporate her identity into her art—and to address issues facing her community.

In today’s new film, Aguiñiga states that “art can offer different ways of getting to an answer.” “It can offer different possibilities,” she adds, “generative space.” When Aguiñiga first considered becoming an artist, though, she didn’t see those possibilities. Like many people, she viewed the art world as the hierarchical and exclusive realm that it quite often is. But with support from educators, peers, and her family, she found ways to create space for creativity in all aspects of her life.

Working on this film led me to reflect on the people who allowed me to find my place in a sometimes inaccessible art world. Perhaps hearing Tanya Aguiñiga’s story will cause you to consider your own experience and recognize the people who helped shape it.

Ian Forster
Producer and Co-Director, “Tanya Aguiñiga: Crafting Lineage
October 27, 2021

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Explore: History of Art

Kerry James Marshall installs his 2008 exhibition, Black Romantic, at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York City. Production still from the Extended Play film, “Kerry James Marshall: On Museums.” © Art21, Inc. 2008.

In reverence or contempt to the artists that preceded them, these artists reference the past while expanding the art historical canon.

Uncover new dimensions of Tony Smith’s sculptures with Erin Shirreff, reconsider traditional museum narratives with Kerry James Marshall, and break from dogmatic approaches to photography with Florian Maier-Aichen in our History of Art collection.

Explore History of Art.

Five artists explore their artistic inheritances in five new films

From left to right: Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Tanya Aguiñiga, John Akomfrah, Doreen Garner, and Salman Toor. © Art21, Inc. 2021.

In our final programming season of 2021, we are delighted to deliver five new films across our Extended Play and New York Close Up series.

Stream the first two releases of the new season today.

This season features five artists—Tanya Aguiñiga, John Akomfrah, Doreen Garner, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, and Salman Toor—who each find a place amongst familial and creative lineages.

Tune in for a new premiere every Wednesday through mid-November at 12:00 p.m. ET on Art21.org our YouTube channel.

See the film guide.

Upcoming workshop for educators

Join us on Tuesday, November 9 at 6:00 p.m. ET for a workshop that challenges educators to get outside.

Why teach outside the classroom? Moving between the space of our classrooms, school campuses, and our communities, four expert educators talk about the benefits of teaching installation and site-specific art, as well as how it can be accomplished with students in a wide variety of settings that doesn’t necessarily cost a lot.

This program is free and will take place via Zoom.

Register now.

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