Art in the Twenty-First Century

Season 9

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 in the new 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.

Season 9 premiered September 21, 2018 on PBS.

To host a screening of the new season, please visit Screening Society.

Broadcast Episodes


  • 55:13

    A longtime home for political progressives and technological pioneers, the San Francisco Bay Area is a magnet for artists who are drawn to its experimental atmosphere, countercultural spirit, and history of innovation. In addition to three artists working across photography, installation, and new media, this episode features a non-profit art center, spotlighting multiple artists with physical and cognitive disabilities who work across a range of mediums. The artists in this hour are united by their steadfastness and persistence in creating; their art serves as an essential expression of their experience of the world.

  • 55:04

    Since the dramatic fall of apartheid in 1994, Johannesburg has emerged as the artistic capital of sub-Saharan Africa. This episode tells the story of four artists from a diversity of South African ethnic backgrounds, identities and generations working across photography, painting, sculpture, and performance. Collectively, the artists in this hour use their work to empower marginalized communities, reexamine history, and pursue their visions for South Africa’s future.

  • 55:04

    A city still in the midst of a post–Cold War cultural and economic rebirth, since the 1990s Berlin has become a haven for artists from all over the world—a free zone where experimentation, individual expression, and international influences converge. From creating large-scale public projects to intimately personal ones, the artists in this episode demonstrate the diversity of practice and sensibilities in the German capital, expose its complicated history of war and migration, and convey hopes for finding systems that foster a better tomorrow.

The Season 9 Educators' Guide and Screening Guide are available as free downloadable resources to accompany the new broadcast season. Find these and other resources for educators in the Tools for Teaching area of this site.