Art21 at the Movies

On September 13 and 15, 2023, Art21 hosted its first large-scale public film event at the iconic venues of Metrograph and SVA Theatre. Art21 at the Movies featured film premieres and curated screenings that merged the worlds of film and contemporary art. The two-day event offered art enthusiasts and cinephiles alike an opportunity to interact with artists and filmmakers from across the country.

Opening Night at Metrograph featured two Art21 premieres: “Esteban Cabeza de Baca’s Time Travels,” and “Friends & Strangers,” the third episode from Season 11 of Art in the Twenty-First Century. Films were captioned and ASL interpreters were present to make the event accessible for all guests. 

Artists Esteban Cabeza de Baca, Miranda July, Cannupa Hanska Luger, Linda Goode Bryant, and Christine Sun Kim (in pre-recorded video) introduced their films and shared the inspirations for their work, along with director Chiemi Karasawa who offered insights into  the filmmaking process. Art21’s Molaundo Jones and Tina Kukielski welcomed audiences and introduced the inaugural Art21 at the Movies, with board Chairman, Jim Cohan giving closing remarks.

Guests walked through the pink carpet,  enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and refreshments with themed cocktails, choosing between “The Friend” or “The Stranger,” and grooved to the sounds of British-born, NYC-based DJ Jennifly

Art21 at the Movies guests included Anne Delaney (artist and philanthropist), Michelle Coffey (Executive Director, Lambent Foundation), Trenton Doyle Hancock (artist), Oliver Herring (Artist and Trustee), Adam Milner (Artist), Azikiwe Mohammed (artist), Lucas Blalock (artist), Ursula von Rydingsvard (artist), Francisca Benitez (artist), James Cohan (Board Chair and Founder of James Cohan Gallery), Louise Eliasof ( Trustee), Hedy Fischer (Trustee, curator and collector), Anna Furney (Partner, Venus Over Manhattan), Garth Greenan and Hugh O’Rourke (Garth Greenan Gallery), Maren Hassinger, Francisca Benitez (artist), Max Heiges (artist), David Howe (Trustee emeritus and artist), Janet Olivia Henry (artist), Andria Hickey (independent curator), Hitomi Iwasaki (Head of Exhibitions, Queens Museum), Chiemi Karasawa (Director, “Friends & Strangers), Ali Liebegott (writer and comedian), Chella Man (actor and model), Liza Jessie Peterson (writer and filmmaker), Erica Samuels (Trustee and Founder, Samuels Creative & Co.), Randy Shull (artist and collector), Jasmin Tsou (Trustee), and Emily Watlington (Art in America Magazine).

The second evening of Art21 at the Movies took place at SVA Theatre, kicking off with the 3-D film premiere of Westermann: Memorial to the Idea of Man If He Was an Idea,” from Pentimenti Productions, executive produced by the artist Brian Donnelly known professionally as KAWS (who was in attendance). Guests were welcomed by Emma Nordin, Art21 Associate Director of Education Initiatives, and the film was followed by a dynamic conversation between Trenton Doyle Hancock, Aaron Curry, John Corbett, and the director of the film Leslie Buchbinder

Filmmaker, writer, and artist Miranda July hosted “F-F-Fearless,” a diverse collection of her favorite moments in film, TikTok, and YouTube that explore the creative process. The audience was captivated, thoroughly enjoying the assorted selection of films and social media content handpicked by July.

“Stories That Shape Us,” a program hosted by Jurrell Lewis, Art21 Assistant Curator, featured films highlighting woman-identifying BIPOC artists who share the histories, experiences, and relationships that shape their practices. Films screened included Between the Earth and the Sky” with Wangechi Mutu, Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business,” “Light of Freedom” with Abigail DeVille,The Edge of Legibility” with Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Philemona Williamson: To Be Seen,” and An Open Horizon.” (or) The Stillness of a Wound” with Firelei Báez. Remarks were given by featured artist and Art21 trustee Abigail DeVille, filmmaker Carrie Hawks, and artist Philemona Williamson, whose film had its first big screen premiere at Art21 at the Movies.

“Art21 Vimeo Staff Picks,” a program hosted by Nick Ravich, Art21 Director of Production & Video Programming, featured a collection of Art21 films selected as Vimeo Staff Picks. Films screened includedAki Sasamoto: An Artist Walks into a Bar,” Jes Fan in Flux,” Richard Mosse: What the Camera Cannot See,” “Salman Toor’s Emerald Green,” and Joiri Minaya’s Pattern Making.” Several of the filmmakers were in attendance, including Rafael Salazar and Ava Wiland (RAVA Films), Brian Redondo, Ian Forster, Adam Golfer, and Alina Rancier.

Art21 at the Movies was presented with the generous support of the Art21 Board of Trustees, Agnes Gund, Garth Greenan Gallery, and Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.


Photography by:
Becca Marcela Oviatt /
Jason Crowley/ © BFA 2023