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Art21 Reveals Five New Films for Spring/Summer 2019

An original profile on 98-year-old Luchita Hurtado headlines Art21’s second wave of new films for 2019

(NEW YORK — May 15, 2019) — Art21 announced today its second wave of film programming for 2019, revealing five new films to premiere throughout the spring and summer. The upcoming lineup introduces three artists to the Art21 roster: Luchita Hurtado in the Extended Play series, in addition to Jes Fan and Dan Herschlein in the New York Close Up series. Two additional new Extended Play films contain previously unreleased material featuring Zanele Muholi and Olafur Eliasson, both of whom were previously included in the latest season of Art21’s Peabody Award-winning Art in the Twenty-First Century television series.

The first film, featuring artist Jes Fan, is available to watch in full today on Art21.org and YouTube. Subsequent films will premiere bi-weekly on Wednesdays through July 10.

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“Collectively, these five new films demonstrate a diversity in practice and a diversity in culture amongst artists working today,” said Tina Kukielski, Art21 executive director and chief curator. “We are proud to continue in our tradition, over two decades in the making, of capturing the current social climate through the stories of today’s greatest artists.”

The spring/summer series is the second wave of new Art21 films to premiere in 2019. All five films from 2019’s first wave—featuring Kevin Beasley, Doreen Garner, David Goldblatt, Elle Pérez, and Creative Growth Art Center—are available to watch in full on Art21.org and Art21.live.

A late-career coming out for Luchita Hurtado

On the heels of her inclusion in TIME magazine’s annual “100 Most Influential People” list, Luchita Hurtado enters 2019 on a continued rise in visibility. Hurtado’s Art21 debut traces the 98-year-old artist’s journey from nearly seven decades of relative obscurity through to her 2019 museum retrospective—the first of her career—at Serpentine Galleries in London.

Art21 captured intimate and exclusive footage of the artist at work in and around her Santa Monica studio. Contemplating the relationship between humans and the natural environment, Hurtado returns to her often-visited local canyon park to take in the nature and to seek inspiration.

The film will premiere to online audiences on June 26 as part of Art21’s Webby Award-nominated Extended Play series. Viewers will also be able to see the film at Hauser & Wirth in Los Angeles beginning June 30.

Expanding the New York Close Up roster

The newly unveiled spring/summer film lineup includes two of the five artists to join Art21’s New York Close Up series roster in 2019: Jes Fan and Dan Herschlein. Previously in 2019, Kevin Beasley and Elle Pérez were introduced to the series; and, later this year, the final addition, Maryam Hoseini, will appear in her series debut.

Now in its eighth year, Art21’s celebrated New York Close Up series profiles early career artists living and working in New York City. Since its inaugural film premiere in June 2011, the series has profiled over 30 artists in over 80 films, including Rashid Johnson, Diana Al-Hadid, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Jacolby Satterwhite, Jamian Juliano-Villani, Kalup Linzy, Keltie Ferris, Mika Rottenberg, Lucas Blalock, Avery Singer, and Jordan Casteel, among others.

Always on view

The Art21 film collection features over 60 hours of video content, all available to view around the clock and free of charge at Art21.org and Art21.live.

In addition to full episodes from each of the nine seasons produced to date of the Peabody Award-winning PBS-broadcast series, Art in the Twenty-First Century, the Art21 film collection is rounded out by over 300 films across two digital series, Extended Play and New York Close Up—demonstrating Art21’s ongoing commitment to digital-first video programming, and underscoring the nonprofit organization’s position as the leading producer of films documenting the creative processes of today’s artists.

Spring/Summer 2019 Film Guide

Jes Fan (May 15; New York Close Up)

A trained glass artist, sculptor Jes Fan creates elegant installation works that quietly question our most fundamental assumptions about gender, race, and identity. The artist explains how his personal experiences—moving from his native Hong Kong to the United States, growing up queer, and transitioning—have shaped his practice, and how he began incorporating contested biological materials such as estrogen, testosterone, and melanin into his sculptures. Addressing his own experience of being racialized and gendered, Fan asserts, “It’s just a disposition that you’re constantly placed in—a constant act of othering.”

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Zanele Muholi (May 29; Extended Play)

In homes and community spaces, visual activist Zanele Muholi creates “mobile studios” to photograph members of the LGBTI community in South Africa. As a way to create work where the participants feel most comfortable, the studio spaces allow Muholi to empower those being photographed. Through the unveiling of the photographs as part of an exhibition at Stevenson Gallery in Cape Town, Muholi invites participants to further contextualize the images by inscribing personal testimonials directly onto the walls of the gallery.

Dan Herschlein (June 12; New York Close Up)

Working out of his parent’s garage on Long Island, Brooklyn-based artist Dan Herschlein contemplates the role of the voyeur in his work as he prepares for an exhibition at JTT Gallery in Manhattan. Inspired by horror tropes and his own suburban upbringing, Herschlein creates “Night Pictures”—a series of wall panels constructed from wood, plaster, wax, and black paint, onto which the artist sculpts ominous figures cast, in part, from his own body.

Luchita Hurtado (June 26; Extended Play)

While preparing for her first institutional exhibition at Serpentine Galleries in London, 98-year-old Los Angeles-based artist Luchita Hurtado reflects on the “many lives” that she has lived. Having made drawings and paintings for decades in relative obscurity, Hurtado has only recently been recognized for her wide-ranging practice. Shown at work in her Santa Monica studio and a nearby canyon park, Hurtado channels concerns with environmental degradation, as well as the experience of giving birth to her four children.

Olafur Eliasson (July 10; Extended Play)

From a recent exhibition at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery in New York City, Olafur Eliasson gives insight into the natural phenomena referenced in his abstract sculptures and installations, recalling his childhood experiences of exploring the Icelandic landscape with his father. Interested in how perception is shaped through movement, Eliasson creates works that require the viewer to navigate around and through them, just as he did in Iceland. By using simple and accessible imagery such as a rainbow, Eliasson aims to reach an audience that may otherwise feel excluded by the oftentimes elitist art world.

About Art21

Since 1997, Art21 has been recognized as a celebrated global leader in presenting thought-provoking and sophisticated content about contemporary art. It is the go-to place to learn firsthand about some of the most interesting working artists today—from the artists themselves—and is responsible for introducing millions of people to contemporary art and artists. Founded on the belief that artists are role models for creative and critical thinking, Art21’s mission aims to inspire a more creative and tolerant world through the works and words of contemporary artists.

Art21.org provides an unparalleled year-round, always-on look at working artists, a continuous digital presence for an organization that is widely recognized for a biennial television series. The Art21 film library houses over 60 hours of original video content—over 500 videos all open and free to the public. Reaching audiences of over 5 million a month, Art21’s digital initiatives continue the organization’s long-standing tradition of using the power of digital media to inspire audiences worldwide by exposing them to contemporary artists.

Through its education program, Art21 engages audiences in dialogue about the contemporary art and artists featured in Art21 films. Art21’s educational initiatives include the Art21 Educators learning community, the production of interpretive resources, professional development workshops and lectures, and participatory programs and screening events.

To date, Art21’s digital films have had over 50 film festival acceptances across the world and have been nominated for a Webby Award and won a Cine Golden Eagle.

Art21 programs are made possible through the generosity of The Anna Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation; Agnes Gund; PBS; the Lambent Foundation Fund of the Tides Foundation; The David S. Howe Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; The Ford Foundation; The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; and The Andreas Foundation.

Generous support of New York Close Up is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional support for “New York Close Up” is provided by Neil Simpkins and Miyoung Lee; and by individual contributors.

Generous support of Extended Play is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; the Art21 Contemporary Council; and by individual contributors.

For a full list of Art21 supporters, please visit Art21.org.

Press Contact

Jonathan Munar
Director of Digital, Art21
press [AT] art21 [DOT] org