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.

The documentary series provides a window into contemporary art that is ordinarily hidden from public view. The featured artists are some of the most compelling creative thinkers of our time, and they grant Art21 filmmakers intimate access to their lives. Art21 presents artists in their private homes and studios, going behind-the-scenes to reveal how artworks and exhibitions are created. Reflecting that intimacy is the series’ signature visual style, which dynamically captures static, immersive, and time-based artworks alike. Artists narrate their own stories and invest the documentaries with humor, pathos, and surprising insights.

Seasons 1-7 were loosely structured around themes that unify the individual artists and help audiences analyze, compare, contrast, and juxtapose their work and processes. Season 8 marked a shift for the series, and for the first time in the show’s history, the artists were grouped by their unique and revealing relationships to the cities where they live and work. Showcasing the geography, architecture, society, culture, and heritage of each location, Season 8 revealed how artists today simultaneously draw inspiration from and influence their immediate surroundings, while engaging far-flung communities from all over the world.