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Weekly Watchlist: New film 🎥 Heidi Lau’s Spirit Vessels

Heid Lau grieves with her hands

It was wonderful to film with Heidi over the many months of her residency at the Green-Wood Cemetery – watching as the snowy winter days melted into blossoming spring, and her sculptures similarly sprang into being. Heidi’s ghostly ceramics evoke contradictory emotions in the space between nostalgia and grief; the beautiful and grotesque. Filming Heidi work through these contradictions in real time was fascinating. Her physical process is constantly changing to adapt to the movement of the clay, as she kneads, molds, and pinches her sculptures into their highly textured, vaguely biological shapes. She places her faith in that physical communion with the clay, telling us that it feels as if “the clay is sculpting her back.”

As an Asian American filmmaker and a fellow member of the Chinese diaspora, I was also particularly interested in the history and culture felt throughout Heidi’s works. Drawing from her childhood in Macao and the crumbling architecture in that post-colonial landscape, as well as from Asian urn shapes and the mythical creatures of Taoist folklore, Heidi’s works feel at once ancient and familiar, yet as indecipherable as the ruins of a forgotten civilization.

Bryan Chang
Director; Heidi Lau’s Spirit Vessels
June 1, 2022

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Explore: Textile

IMAGE: Nick Cave at work in his studio, Chicago, 2015. Production still from the Art in the Twenty-First Century Season 8 episode, “Chicago.” © Art21, Inc. 2016.

Blend fashion and sculpture with Nick Cave, explore the intersection of art and design with Andrea Zittel, and reimagine fabrics with intricate histories with Yinka Shonibare CBE (RA) in our Textile collection.

Explore Textile.

Virtual Teacher Workshop: Mindful Sewing

Hands holding a needle and thread

IMAGE: Production still from the Art21 Extended Play film, “Crafting Lineage.” © Art21, Inc. 2021.

Join Art21 for a virtual teacher workshop on Monday, June 6, 2022 at 6 p.m. ET. 

Two alumni of Art21 Educators will lead a session dedicated to mindful “blind” sewing. The program will begin with a series of warm-up activities and then a final stitching session. No experience required!

The program is free and will take place via Zoom.

Register now.

Virtual Teacher Workshop: ArtBreak

IMAGE: Production still from the New York Close Up film “Diana Al-Hadid’s Suspended Reality.” © Art21, Inc. 2013.

Join Art21 for a virtual teacher workshop on Monday, June 20 at 6:00 PM E.T.  

Join us as we watch Diana Al-Hadid’s Art21 film, “Diana Al-Hadid’s Suspended Reality,” and consider a prompt from our new Educators’ Guide. We will then create art together during an #Art21ArtBreak.

The program is free and will take place via Zoom.

Register now.

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