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This episode examines the ways in which contemporary artists picture and question war, express outrage, and empathize with the suffering of others. Whether bearing witness to tragic events, presenting alternative histories, or engaging in activism, the artists interviewed in Protest use visual art as a means to provoke personal transformations and question social revolutions. Protest is shot on location in New York, New York; Hoosick Falls, New York; Wappingers Falls, New York; Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California; and Santiago, Chile.More information and credits
Created by: Susan Sollins & Susan Dowling. Executive Producer & Curator: Susan Sollins. Series Producer: Eve-Laure Moros Ortega. Associate Producer: Migs Wright. Associate Curator: Wesley Miller. Production Manager: Alice Bertoni & Nick Ravich. Production Coordinator: Amanda Donnan & Meredith Klein. Consulting Director: Charles Atlas. Editor: Lizzie Donahue. Director of Photography: Christine Burrill, Bob Elfstrom, Mead Hunt, & Joel Shapiro. Additional Photography: David Howe & Nick Ravich. Sound: Tom Bergin, Ray Day, Mark Mandler, Roger Phenix, Yuri Raicin, & Merce Williams. Audio Technician: Peter Holcomb. Assistant Camera: Sean Brown, Craig Feldman, Brian Hwang, Michael Pruitt-Bruun, & Amy Lane Tucker. Production Assistant: Sebastián Dib Ruiz. Makeup: Kim Baker. Additional Animation: Ben Baudhuin, Shawn Dunbar, & Joaquin Perez.
Creative Consultant: Ed Sherin. Art Direction & Design: Open, New York. On-Line Editor: Don Wyllie. Composer: Peter Foley. Voice-Over Artist: Jace Alexander. Sound Editing: Margaret Crimmins & Greg Smith. Sound Mix: Cory Melious & Tony Volante. Animation Stand: Frank Ferrigno. Assistant Editor: Ahmed Amer, Jennifer Chiurco, & George Panos.
Artworks Courtesy of: © 2007 Jenny Holzer, member Artist Rights Society (ARS), NY; Alfredo Jaar; An-My Lê; Nancy Spero; Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela; Cheim & Read, New York; Galerie Lelong, New York; & Murray Guy, New York.
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Major underwriting for Art in the Twenty-First Century Season Four provided by: National Endowment for the Arts; Public Broadcasting Service; 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; & W.L.S. Spencer Foundation. Lead education sponsor for “Art in the Twenty-First Century” Season Four: JPMorgan Chase.
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Alfredo Jaar creates installations, photographs, films, and community-based projects that explore the public’s desensitization to images and the limitations of art to represent events such as genocides, epidemics, and famines. Jaar’s work bears witness to military conflicts, political corruption, and imbalances of power between industrialized and developing nations. Subjects addressed in his work include the holocaust in Rwanda, gold mining in Brazil, toxic pollution in Nigeria, and issues related to the border between Mexico and the United States.
An-My Lê’s photographs and films examine the impact, consequences, and representation of war. Whether in color or black-and-white, her pictures frame a tension between the natural landscape and its violent transformation into battlefields. Suspended between the formal traditions of documentary and staged photography, Lê’s work explores the disjunction between wars as historical events and the ubiquitous representation of war in contemporary entertainment, politics, and collective consciousness.
Whether questioning consumerist impulses, describing torture, or lamenting death and disease, Jenny Holzer’s use of language provokes a response in the viewer. While her subversive work often blends in among advertisements in public space, its arresting content violates expectations. Holzer’s texts—such as the aphorisms “Abuse of power comes as no surprise” and “Protect me from what I want”—have appeared on posters and condoms, and as electronic LED signs and projections of xenon light.
Nancy Spero is a pioneer of feminist art. Her work since the 1960s is an unapologetic statement against the pervasive abuse of power, Western privilege, and male dominance. Executed with a raw intensity on paper and in ephemeral installations, her work often draws its imagery and subject matter from current and historical events. Spero samples from a rich range of visual sources of women as protagonists to create figures that co-exist in nonhierarchical compositions on monumental scrolls, visually reinforcing principles of equality and tolerance.
“I strongly believe in the power of a