Art in the Twenty-First Century

The only series on television in the U.S. to focus exclusively on contemporary visual art and artists, Art in the Twenty-First Century is a Peabody Award-winning biennial program that allows viewers to observe the artists at work, watch as they transform inspiration into art, and hear how they struggle with both the physical and visual challenges of achieving their visions.

Art in the Twenty-First Century airs on PBS in the U.S. Watch full episodes on Art21.org and through PBS streaming apps.

Broadcast Seasons

Season 11   2023

Season 11 of Art in the Twenty-First Century highlights some of the country’s most innovative artists as they go big and bold. Working across the country from Philadelphia and Atlanta to New Mexico and Los Angeles, all the way to Puerto Rico, some of the most celebrated artists of our time share their creative processes and innermost thoughts alongside newer artists still finding their shape and power.

Included this season are: Amy Sherald, Rose B. Simpson, Alex Da Corte, Daniel Lind-Ramos, Guerrilla Girls, Anicka Yi, Tauba Auerbach, Hank Willis Thomas, Cannupa Hanska Luger, Linda Goode Bryant, Miranda July, and Christine Sun Kim. 

Major underwriting for Season 11 of Art in the Twenty-First Century is provided by PBS, National Endowment for the Arts, Lambent Foundation, The Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Toby Devan Lewis, Robert Lehman Foundation, and Nion McEvoy & Leslie Berriman.

“Everyday Icons” premiered on PBS on April 7, 2023.
“Bodies of Knowledge” premiered on PBS on June 23, 2023.

The third and final episode of the season, “Friends & Strangers,” will premiere on PBS on October 20, 2023.

Season 10   2020

The landmark tenth season of the Peabody Award-winning Art in the Twenty-First Century television series—the longest-running television series on contemporary art—features twelve artists and one collective, charting artmaking in London, Beijing, and regions around the United States-Mexico border.

Included this season are Tanya Aguiñiga, John Akomfrah, Phyllida Barlow, Guan Xiao, Anish Kapoor, Liu Xiaodong, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Christian Marclay, Richard Misrach, Postcommodity, Song Dong, Xu Bing, and Yin Xiuzhen.

Major underwriting for Season 10 of Art in the Twenty-First Century is provided by PBS, National Endowment for the Arts, Lambent Foundation, The Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Toby Devan Lewis, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Henri Lambert, Nion McEvoy & Leslie Berriman, and Sakana Foundation.

Season 10 premiered September 18, 2020 on PBS.

Season 9   2018

Season 9 of Art in the Twenty-First Century charts art-making in three urban centers across three continents: Berlin, Johannesburg, and the San Francisco Bay Area. From the post-Cold War cultural and economic rebirth in Berlin, to the dramatic fall of apartheid in South Africa and the technological boom in the Bay Area, the twelve artists and one non-profit art center highlighted in this season respond to the forces that have shaped the places where they live and work, while pursuing their personal visions for a better future.

As each artist draws inspiration from their surrounding communities, they also travel to museums and public spaces internationally to share their work, reminding us of the increasingly global nature of the world we live in. The artists in this season examine the complicated histories of colonization, war and migration, offer new perspectives on our interactions with technology and the environment, critique our conceptions of gender, sexuality, and race, and ultimately inspire us to see our world in new ways.

Included this season are Creative Growth Art Center, Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, Olafur Eliasson, David Goldblatt, Katy Grannan, Nicholas Hlobo, Hiwa K, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Zanele Muholi, Susan Philipsz, Robin Rhode, and Stephanie Syjuco.

Major underwriting for Season 9 of Art in the Twenty-First Century is provided by National Endowment for the Arts, PBS, Lambent Foundation, Ford Foundation, The Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Toby Devan Lewis, Nion McEvoy, and The Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation.

Season 9 premiered September 21, 2018 on PBS.

Season 8   2016

For the first time in the show’s history, the artists in Season 8 are grouped by the unique and revealing relationships to the places where they live: Chicago, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Vancouver. The artists share universal experiences through their life stories and creative works: resistance, pleasure, mortality, and the hope for a better tomorrow.

Season 8 showcases the geography, architecture, society, culture, and heritage of each location, highlighting aspects of contemporary life that viewers everywhere experience. The season features 16 artists, each of whom actively participate in global conversations about the pressing issues of our time: from terrorism to environmental crises to the struggle for civil rights. Emmy Award-winning actress Claire Danes joins the series as host, introducing each of the four episodes, and the motivations and concerns most pressing for the artists in each city.

Included in the new season are Natalia Almada, Edgar Arceneaux, Nick Cave, Minerva Cuevas, Stan Douglas, Theaster Gates, Brian Jungen, Barbara Kasten, Liz Larner, Tala Madani, Liz Magor, Damián Ortega, Pedro Reyes, Diana Thater, Jeff Wall, and Chris Ware.

Major underwriting for Season 8 of Art in the Twenty-First Century is provided by National Endowment for the Arts, PBS, Lambent Foundation, Agnes Gund, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and The Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation.

Season 8 premiered in September 2016 on PBS.

Season 7   2014

Providing unique access to some of the most compelling artists of our time, Season 7 features a dozen artists from the United States, Europe, and Latin America, transporting viewers to artistic projects across the country and around the world. In locations as diverse as a Bronx public housing development, a military testing facility in the Nevada desert, a jazz festival in Sweden, and an activist neighborhood in Mexico, the artists reveal intimate and personal insights into their lives and creative processes. Season 7 artists create socially and politically engaged art, draw upon the influence of family and youthful experiences, and experiment with both form and medium.

Included in the season are Tania Bruguera, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Leonardo Drew, Omer Fast, Katharina Grosse, Thomas Hirschhorn, Elliott Hundley, Graciela Iturbide, Joan Jonas, Wolfgang Laib, Trevor Paglen, and Arlene Shechet.

Major underwriting for Season 7 of Art in the Twenty-First Century is provided by National Endowment for the Arts, PBS, Agnes Gund, Bloomberg, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, The Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, Toby Devan Lewis, and Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

Season 7 premiered in October 2014 on PBS.

Season 6   2012

Timely and timeless, global and local, beautiful and provocative, contemporary art challenges us to look at our world in new ways. Contemporary artists grapple with the complex issues of our time, ask tough questions, and make works that delight, amaze and sometimes unsettle audiences worldwide.

Season 6 includes 13 profiles of artists from five continents. Spanning the globe from Nigeria to New York City, from Beijing to Brazil, the episodes reveal the artists at work and speaking in their own words as they demonstrate the power of art to alter perception, challenge convention, and change how we see the world around us.

Included in the season are artists Marina Abramović, Ai Weiwei, David Altmejd, El Anatsui, assume vivid astro focus, Lynda Benglis, Rackstraw Downes, Glenn Ligon, Robert Mangold, Catherine Opie, Mary Reid Kelley, Sarah Sze, and Tabaimo.

Major underwriting for Season 6 of Art in the Twenty-First Century is provided by The National Endowment for the Arts, PBS, Agnes Gund, Bloomberg, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Broad Art Foundation, The Japan Foundation, Toby Devan Lewis.

Season 6 premiered in May 2012 on PBS.

Season 5   2009

Season 5, the series’ most international season to date, provides viewers with a unique look at the lives and work of contemporary artists, revealing the artists’ perspectives and showcasing their working processes and studios. Art21 traveled around the world in Season 5, filming the creation of new art on every continent except Antarctica, and in museums, studios, galleries and homes in nine countries.

Fourteen internationally recognized artists, from painters and sculptors to photographers and filmmakers exploring the possibilities of new media, were filmed in their own environments and in their own words. The result is an exceptional opportunity for audiences to experience first-hand the complex artistic processes behind some of today’s most intriguing and thought-provoking art.

Included in the season are artists John Baldessari, Cao Fei, Mary Heilmann, William Kentridge, Kimsooja, Jeff Koons, Florian Maier-Aichen, Paul McCarthy, Allan McCollum, Julie Mehretu, Doris Salcedo, Cindy Sherman, Yinka Shonibare MBE (RA), and Carrie Mae Weems.

Major underwriting for Season 5 of Art in the Twenty-First Century is provided by National Endowment for the Arts, PBS, Agnes Gund, Bloomberg, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Broad Art Foundation, Korea Foundation, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation.

Season 5 premiered in October 2009 on PBS.

Season 4   2007

Season 4 reveals the inspiration, vision and techniques behind the creative works of 17 contemporary artists. Art21 travels across the country and abroad to film painters, sculptors, photographers, and filmmakers in their own spaces and in their own words. Viewers are invited behind-the-scenes to see artists at work in their studios, homes, communities, and in sites as diverse as an old-growth forest near Seattle, a military base in California, a theater academy in Warsaw, and a film set, in addition to galleries and museums. The artists profiled speak directly to the audience, describing their passions, impulses and methods.

Included in the season are artists Robert Adams, Allora & Calzadilla, Mark Bradford, Mark Dion, Jenny Holzer, Pierre Huyghe, Alfredo Jaar, An-My Lê, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Judy Pfaff, Lari Pittman, Robert Ryman, Laurie Simmons, Nancy Spero, Catherine Sullivan, and Ursula von Rydingsvard.

Major underwriting for Season 4 of Art in the Twenty-First Century is provided by National Endowment for the Arts, PBS, Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Bloomberg, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Bagley Wright Fund, and W.L.S. Spencer Foundation.

Season 4 premiered in October 2007 on PBS.

Season 3   2005

What goes on inside the minds of today’s most dynamic visual artists? How do they make the leap between insight and finished object? What inspires artists to break through the barriers of convention to arrive at new ways of seeing? These and other intriguing questions are explored in Season 3.

Creating art is a complex process; sometimes deliberate, sometimes serendipitous, always rigorous. This season, Art21 travels from São Paulo to Boston, from Berlin to Houston, to film 16 working artists and to open up the intimate spaces where they flourish. For the first time in the show’s history, Art21 commissioned original video artwork from artist collaborators Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler to conclude each episode in Season 3.

Included in the season are artists Laylah Ali, Ida Applebroog, Cai Guo-Qiang, Ellen Gallagher, Arturo Herrera, Oliver Herring, Roni Horn, Hubbard/Birchler, Mike Kelley, Josiah McElheny, Matthew Ritchie, Susan Rothenberg, Jessica Stockholder, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Richard Tuttle, Fred Wilson, and Krzysztof Wodiczko.

Major underwriting for Season 3 of Art in the Twenty-First Century is provided by National Endowment for the Arts, PBS, Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Jon and Mary Shirley Foundation, Bagley Wright Fund Bloomberg, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, Melva Bucksbaum and Raymond Learsy, The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Season 3 premiered in September 2005 on PBS.

Season 2   2003

Contemporary art breaks out of the confines of museums and art galleries in Season 2. Shattering the myth of the artist as an isolated genius, this season introduces television audiences to 16 artists working in America today. Season 2 uses the medium of film to provide an experience of the visual arts that goes far beyond a gallery visit. Intimate footage allows the viewer to observe the artists at work, watch their process, and learn how they grapple with the challenges of achieving their artistic visions.

Included in the season are artists Eleanor Antin, Janine Antoni, Charles Atlas, Vija Celmins, Walton Ford, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Tim Hawkinson, Elizabeth Murray, Gabriel Orozco, Raymond Pettibon, Paul Pfeiffer, Martin Puryear, Collier Schorr, Kiki Smith, Do Ho Suh, and Kara Walker.

Major underwriting for Season 2 of Art in the Twenty-First Century is provided by National Endowment for the Arts, PBS, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The Allen Foundation for the Arts, Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro, Bloomberg, The Jon and Mary Shirley Foundation, Nonprofit Finance Fund, JPMorgan Chase, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, New York Arts Recovery Fund, Peter Norton Family Foundation, New York Times Company Foundation, Dorothea L. Leonhart Foundation, and Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation.

Season 2 premiered in September 2003 on PBS.

Season 1   2001

At the dawn of the 21st century, American artists are taking self-expression and the artistic process into uncharted territory. Today’s artists are engaging the world and their audiences in vital and surprising new ways. They use an enormous variety of media and draw on sources ranging from pop culture and politics to ethnic heritage, classical models, and deeply personal life experiences. Season 1 features 21 artists that represent a cross-section of contemporary art practices and philosophies, and hail from different regions of the United States.

Included in the season are artists Matthew Barney, Louise Bourgeois, Michael Ray Charles, Mel Chin, John Feodorov, Ann Hamilton, Margaret Kilgallen, Beryl Korot, Barbara Kruger, Maya Lin, Sally Mann, Kerry James Marshall, Barry McGee, Bruce Nauman, Pepón Osorio, Richard Serra, Shahzia Sikander, James Turrell, William Wegman, and Andrea Zittel.

Major underwriting for Season 1 of Art in the Twenty-First Century is provided by Robert Lehman Foundation, PBS, National Endowment for the Arts, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro, The Allen Foundation for the Arts, The Broad Art Foundation, The Jon and Mary Shirley Foundation, Bagley Wright Fund, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, and The Foundation-to-Life.

Season 1 premiered in September 2001 on PBS.