For the artists in this playlist families can serve as motivation, a source of feedback, and even subjects for new work. 


“My family is all I have; my family is everything to me,” says Alex Da Corte.

For artists, families can serve as inspiration, a source of feedback, and even subjects for new work. Whether drawing upon childhood experiences, creating work while simultaneously nurturing new family members, or investigating what home means to them, family and community play a vital role in the creation of contemporary art. 

Family and collaboration are at the heart of The Way of Chopsticks, an ongoing project and series of exhibitions shared by Song Dong and his wife, artist Yin Xiuzhen. Nearing the 18th anniversary of The Way of the Chopsticks, Song and Yin invited their daughter to participate in the fourth iteration of the exhibition.

Bryan Zanisnik returns to his parents’ home in Springfield, New Jersey to dig up the long-forgotten home movies he made as an adolescent. LaToya Ruby Frazier collaborates with her mother and grandmother as fellow artists, giving them agency in depictions of themselves, their family, and the broader community. 

Meriem Bennani incorporates family members into her films, “On one side, I almost feel emotionally like a monster who traps family members into this digital world. And then the other extreme is like fully loving and celebrating family.”

The artists in this playlist surround themselves with others to lend a uniquely intimate and collaborative character to their work because after all, no one creates anything alone.  

by Art21October 26, 2022 13 videos • 2:00:04 total runtime

Art21 Educators alumnus Andrea Mancuso uses artist models to help build the space of collaboration in her classroom. 

Teaching with Collaboration

Through collaboration, a class can become a community. We can build together a strong sense of trust and joy to do the most vulnerable of work, that of making art together. Collaboration, we are told, is a valuable skill, as essential as the kindergarten skill of learning to share. But how do we learn to collaborate? How do we determine what is a good collaboration vs. a bad collaboration? Is it as simple as an agreement, or does it entail more complexity and challenge, a discourse with space for disagreement and growth?

The collective Postcommodity articulates, “Our job is to provide space for people to connect their own narratives of cultural self-determination and allow a new public memory to be born.” Whether John Akomfrah in “London” recounting his time in Black Audio Film Collective, Alex Da Corte including his family members as participants, or Jaimie Warren working with a student group as part of Whoop Dee Doo, the artists in this playlist explore the possibilities of collaboration.

Read about how Andrea Mancuso teaches with collaboration in her classroom.

by Andrea MancusoOctober 21, 2022 11 videos • 2:43:36 total runtime

This playlist celebrates the ability of translation to open avenues of understanding and connection.


“Meaning changes when you translate,” says Gabriel Orozco. Whether in written text, verbal instruction, understanding, or concept, artists translate their ideas to their work and their audiences.

Diane Severin Nguyen creates compelling and often mystifying photographs and videos which question divides between objects, meanings, and the final works. “By the time I’m finished with an image, I don’t even remember where I started,” she says, “I try to work against that impulse to identify and get more towards a place of feeling.”

Using language, Gabriel Orozco creates an opportunity to exchange ideas and knowledge with “Spanish Lessons (2013).” Conversely, Liz Magic Laser strips language away entirely to convey meaning and message through a performance of hand gestures from presidential speeches.

Translation may be integral to creating the artwork, as when Martin Puryear translates instructions for craftsmen from English to Japanese to Chinese; or translations may be a living part of the work itself, as Cao Fei’s digital avatar China Tracy acts as her interpreter throughout her our “Fantasy” episode segment.

This playlist celebrates the ability of translation to open avenues of understanding and connection.

by Art21September 21, 2022 11 videos • 1:24:20 total runtime

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