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Art21 Unveils 2019 Programming Leading with Five New Films

Over fifteen new films will premiere throughout 2019

(NEW YORK — February 6, 2019) — Art21 announced today its initial programming lineup for 2019, leading off with a wave of five new films across each of its digital series, Extended Play and New York Close Up. The year of programming will include over fifteen new film premieres, growing Art21’s leading digital film collection on contemporary artists. Featured in the first group of films are Kevin Beasley, Doreen Garner, David Goldblatt, Elle Pérez, and Creative Growth Art Center.

The first film, which follows Beasley at work on an ambitious installation currently on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, is available to watch in full today on Art21.org and YouTube. Subsequent films will premiere bi-weekly on Wednesdays through April 3.

Digital films have been a foundational element of Art21 programming since 2008. Beginning with Extended Play and soon followed by New York Close Up, Art21 has since produced over 300 original digital films across both series. Full films from the entire Art21 collection are always on view at Art21.org.

“Our year-round presence across broadcast and digital channels over the last decade demonstrates our commitment to continually telling timely and timeless stories about the inspiring artists of our time,” said Tina Kukielski, Art21 executive director and chief curator. “With viewership habits increasingly trending towards digital, our foresight has positioned us to proudly grow and maintain the most comprehensive singular digital film collection on contemporary art and artists available anywhere.”

Five Artists Join New York Close Up

Now entering its eighth year, Art21’s celebrated digital series New York Close Up 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, includingRashid JohnsonDiana Al-HadidLaToya Ruby FrazierJacolby SatterwhiteJamian Juliano-VillaniKalup LinzyKeltie Ferris, Mika Rottenberg, Erin Shirreff, Mika Tajima, and Lucas Blalock, among others.

New York Close Up adds five artists to its series roster in 2019: Jes Fan, Maryam Hoseini, and Dan Herschlein, in addition to Beasley and Pérez. The new films will also include Garner and Aki Sasamoto, both of whom have previously been featured in the series.

Prior to the 2019 class, the series introduced six additional artists to its roster, including Jordan Casteel, Meriem Bennani, Avery Singer, and Raúl de Nieves, as well as Garner and Sasamoto.

Extended Play: A Pioneering Digital Series

Launched in March 2008, Extended Play is the first and longest-running digital film series committed to documenting the lives and works of contemporary artists. Through process-revealing footage and intimate interviews, Extended Play uncovers the provocative ideas and biographical anecdotes that inspire an artist’s work from conceptualization, to creation, to presentation.

In addition to Goldblatt and Creative Growth Art Center, artists to be featured in Extended Play throughout 2019 will include Olafur Eliasson, Marcel Dzama, Nicholas Hlobo, and Katy Grannan, among others.

Initially introduced as a digital complement to the Art in the Twenty-First Century television series, Extended Play‘s scope and ambitions have since expanded. In 2018, the series achieved a new milestone by introducing an artist to the series roster not previously featured in another Art21 series, Jack Whitten, followed by another two artists, Marcel Dzama and Alex Da Corte. The series also holds the distinction of being granted exclusive access to major works in progress, including Julie Mehretu‘s historic commission for the atrium of the recently-reopened San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Kara Walker‘s monumental 2014 public project at the former site of the Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn, NY.

Over 100 artists have been featured in the Extended Play series throughout its first ten years, including Barbara KrugerSarah Sze, William Kentridge, Do Ho Suh, Cindy Sherman, Nancy Spero, Gabriel Orozco, Jeff Koons, Mike Kelley, Andrea Zittel, and Carrie Mae Weems, 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.

Winter 2019 Film Guide

Kevin Beasley (February 6; New York Close Up)

In his Queens studio, Kevin Beasley prepares for his ambitious first solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Inspired by an experience on his family’s farm in Virginia, Beasley’s installation juxtaposes sculpture, sound, and silence to examine the cultural legacy of cotton in the American South.

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Doreen Garner (February 20; New York Close Up)

A licensed tattoo artist as well as sculptor and performance artist, Doreen Garner expands the racially-limited visual vocabulary of traditional American tattooing to include African-American iconography—such as Black Panther party symbols and cotton plants. Amongst both friends and strangers, Doreen creates a temporary community of like-minded peers at her pop-up space, discussing and celebrating their shared cultural legacy in all its complexity.

David Goldblatt (March 6; Extended Play)

Photographer David Goldblatt (1930–2018) revisits the Johannesburg, South Africa neighborhood of Fietas—a once diverse and vibrant community until Apartheid-era laws forcibly relocated its non-white residents. Goldblatt documented Fietas before and during its destruction, capturing the families, homes, and shops that comprised this community and, by doing so, contributed to the preservation of their memory.

Elle Pérez (March 20; New York Close Up)

Demonstrating an intimate and collaborative approach to portrait photography, Elle Pérez directs a subject during a photo shoot in the artist’s Brooklyn neighborhood. Visualizing the complexities of gender identity, Perez’s work uses photography to capture visceral details, experiences, and relationships that cannot be described with language alone.

Creative Growth Art Center (April 3; Extended Play)

A celebration of creative achievement, inclusivity, and visibility, Creative Growth Art Center‘s annual “Beyond Trend” fashion show is a vibrant and joyous affair activated by artists with developmental, mental, and physical disabilities. Having spent months—or, in some cases, years—creating outfits worn proudly on the runway, the center’s resident artists walk alongside professional models in a display of the artists’ custom creations.

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 National Endowment for the Arts; The Andreas Foundation; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

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