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“Too often those who are quickest to assert their identity or loudest in proclaiming it have fastened on a single, supposedly fixed aspect of their nature or background to the detriment of the rest,” writes Robert Storr in an essay for the Art in the Twenty-First Century Companion Book. “Whatever the reasons for them, the work of the artists discussed here demonstrate the error and the futility of such ostensibly self-protective but in actuality self-restrictive measures.”More information and credits
Created by: Susan Sollins & Susan Dowling. Executive Producer & Curator: Susan Sollins. Executive Producer: Susan Dowling. Series Producer: Eve-Laure Moros Ortega. Associate Producer: Migs Wright. Production Coordinator: Laura Recht. Researcher: Quinn Latimer & Wesley Miller. Director: Catherine Tatge. Editor: Donna Marino. Director of Photography: Bob Elfstrom, Mark Falstad, Tom Hurwitz, Terry Hopkins, & Ken Kobland. Assistant Camera: Doug Dunderdale & Steve Nealey. Sound: David Brownlow, Heidi Hesse, Mark Roy, Bill Wander, & Joe Yario. Gaffer/Grip: Lamar Bloodworth & Ned Hallick. Production Assistant: Steve Carrillo, Brian Hwang, Graham Gangi, Scott Stevens, Erick Michaud, Alexei Van Mourik, & Heather Murray. Animation Stand Photography: Marcos Levy & City Lights. Assistant Avid Editor: Matt Prinzig & Heather Burak. Assistant to the Director: Rachel Connolly.
Introductory Segment | Director & Writer: William Wegman. Producer: Andrea Beeman. Cast: Steve Martin, Jason Burch, Chip, Chundo. Director of Photography: Edgar Gil. Costumes: Pam Wegman. Editor: Steve Silkensen. Sound: Martin G. Cole, Marilys Ernst. On-Line Editor: Benton Bainbridge, DMZ. Post Mix: Danny Caccavo, Sync Sound.
Louise Bourgeois Segment | Producer/Editor: Marion Cajori. Associate Producer: Kipjaz Savoie. Director of Photography: Mead Hunt. Assistant Camera: Brian O’Caroll. Sound: Peter Miller. Production Assistant: Anya Popova.
Creative Consultant: Ed Sherin. Art Design and Direction: Open, New York. Animation, Visual Effects & Compositing: Spontaneous Combustion. On-Line Editor: Don Wyllie & Frame:Runner NYC. Composer: Peter Foley. Music Supervisor: John Yaffé. Sound Editing: Margaret Crimmins, Greg Smith, & Dog Bark Sound. Sound Mix: Tony Volante & Soundtrack, New York. Post-Production Supervisor: Michael Weingrad & Keir Randall.
Artworks courtesy of: Louise Bourgeois; Jerry Gorovoy; Maya Lin; Kerry James Marshall; © 2001 Bruce Nauman / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy; Art Institute of Chicago; Art Kaleidoscope Foundation; Cheim & Read; Sarah Clark-Langager, Western Washington University; Donald Young Gallery; Gagosian Gallery; Jack Shainman Gallery; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; South Eastern Center for Contemporary Art; Southern Poverty Law Center; Sperone Westwater Gallery; & Whitney Museum of American Art. Archival material courtesy of: Frey Foundation; Langston Hughes Library; Timothy Hursley; The Hull House; & Chicago Parks Department.
Special Thanks: Anne C. Baker; Alison Beall; Jamie Bennett; Joyce Bobolts; Brooklyn Museum; The Bruce Family; William Bush; City Lights; Susan Delson; Dennis Diamond; Dia Center for the Arts; David Ebner; Thomas G. Grace; Russell Hassell; Bruce Mac Corkindale; Cara Mertes; Margarita Moreno; Juliet Myers; Chris Pullman; Queens Museum; Tamberelli Video; University of Illinois, Chicago; Darin Webb; & Wendy Williams.
Interns: Maytal Ahrony, Joyce Alcantara, Christina Darcy, Leslie Fritz, Johanna Goldfeld, Susannah Gust, Sage Lehman, Kelly McCoy, Genevieve Mercatante, Jeff Seelbach, & Stacy Wu.
Public Relations: Kelly & Salerno Communications. Legal Counsel: Albert Gottesman.
Major underwriting for Art in the Twenty-First Century Season One provided by: Robert Lehman Foundation, Inc; Public Broadcasting Service; 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; & The Foundation-to-Life.
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Bruce Nauman has been recognized since the early 1970s as one of the most innovative and provocative of America’s contemporary artists. Nauman finds inspiration in the activities, speech, and materials of everyday life. Working in the diverse mediums of sculpture, video, film, printmaking, performance, and installation, Nauman concentrates less on the development of a characteristic style and more on the way in which a process or activity can transform or become a work of art. A survey of his diverse output demonstrates the alternately political, prosaic, spiritual, and crass methods by which Nauman examines life in all its gory details, mapping the human arc between life and death.
The subject matter of Kerry James Marshall’s paintings, installations, and public projects is often drawn from African-American popular culture, and is rooted in the geography of his upbringing. Marshall’s work is based on a broad range of art-historical references, from Renaissance painting to black folk art, from El Greco to Charles White. A striking aspect of Marshall’s paintings is the emphatically black skin tone of his figures—a development the artist says emerged from an investigation into the invisibility of blacks in America and the unnecessarily negative connotations associated with darkness. The sheer beauty of his work speaks to an art that is simultaneously formally rigorous and socially engaged.
A recognized leader in twentieth-century sculpture, Louise Bourgeois was greatly influenced by the influx of European Surrealist artists who immigrated to the United States after World War II. Her early sculpture was composed of groupings of abstract and organic shapes, often carved from wood. By the 1960s, she began to execute her work in rubber, bronze, and stone, and the pieces themselves became larger and more referential to what has become the dominant theme of her work: her childhood. She has famously stated, “My childhood has never lost its magic, it has never lost its mystery, and it has never lost its drama.”
Maya Lin catapulted into the public eye when, as a senior at Yale University, she submitted the winning design in a national competition for a Vietnam Veterans Memorial to be built in Washington, DC. She was trained as an artist and architect, and her sculptures, parks, monuments, and architectural projects are linked by her ideal of making a place for individuals within the landscape. She draws inspiration for her sculpture and architecture from culturally diverse sources, including Japanese gardens, Hopewell Indian earthen mounds, and works by American earthworks artists of the 1960s and 1970s.
William Wegman’s interests in areas beyond painting led him to photography and the then-infant medium of video. A central figure in his photography and videos, Wegman’s dog Man Ray became known in the art world and beyond for his endearing, deadpan presence. In 1972, Wegman and Man Ray moved to New York. In 1986, a new dog, Fay Ray, came into Wegman’s life; and soon thereafter another famous collaboration began, marked by Wegman’s use of the Polaroid 20-by-24-inch camera. With the birth of Fay’s litter in 1989 and her daughter’s litter in 1995, Wegman’s cast of characters grew.
“I needed a different way to approach the idea of being an artist.”