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Fantasy presents artists whose works defy convention and transport us to unreal worlds and altered states of consciousness. With works at times hallucinatory, irreverent, and sublime, each of these artists pursues a vision first held in the mind’s eye.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: Nick Ravich. Production Coordinator: Larissa Nikola-Lisa. Consulting Director: Catherine Tatge. Editor: Mark Sutton. Director of Photography: Takahisa Araki, Martial Barrault, Kurt Branstetter, Robert Elfstrom, Mark Falstad, Miguel Sanchez-Martin, Ian Serfontein, & Joel Shapiro. Additional Photography: Frank Dellario, Brian Hwang, & Clair Popkin. Sound: Tom Bergin, Ray Day, Steve “Major” Giammaria, Heidi Hesse, Mark Mandler, Roger Phenix, & Paul Stadden. Assistant Camera: Agnès Jammal, Jin Long Nan, Clair Popkin, Nick Skolnick, Adriano Vasquez, & Jean-Pierre Vial. Grip: Scott Barhends & Bill Frye. Field Producer: David Howe. Cao Fei Interview & Translation: Phil Tinari & Xiaotong Wang.
Creative Consultant: Ed Sherin. Art Direction & Design: Open, New York. Graphics Animation: Maurice Caicedo & Urosh Perishic. On-Line Editor: Don Wyllie. Composer: Peter Foley. Voice-Over Artist: Jace Alexander. Sound Editing: Margaret Crimmins & Greg Smith. Sound Mix: Cory Melious. Artwork Animation: Frank Ferrigno. Assistant Editor: Ahmed Amer, Janine Cappadona, Paulo Padilha, Joaquin Perez, Leana Siochi, & Ken Yapelli.
Artworks Courtesy of: Cao Fei; Mary Heilmann; Jeff Koons; Florian Maier-Aichen; 303 Gallery, New York; Blum & Poe, Los Angeles; Lombard-Freid Projects, New York; Pace Prints, New York; & RMB City 2009.
Special Thanks: The Art21 Board of Trustees; Michael Ashburn; Sarah Barasch; Travis Call; Pat Carney; Pat Casteel and Steve Wylie; Chåteau de Versailles Spectacles; Xixi Chen; Ralph Cuccurullo; Samantha Culp; Jill Davis; Dog Bark Sound; Tom Donnelly; Jessica Eisenthal; L’Etablissement Public du musée et du domaine national de Versailles; Frame:Runner, NYC; Alexandra Gaty; Simon Greenberg; Elizabeth Hull; Jeff Koons Studio, New York; Lu Jia; Tomoko Kimata; Sarah Kohn; Venus Lau; Mengxian Li; Karla Loring; Amy Lukas; Sheila Lynch; Carlin Mayer; Mariko Munro; Renée Martin; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Erik Pepple; Heather Rasmussen; Andre Ribuoli; RMB City Studio, Beijing; Lauran Rothstein; Nancy Schindele; Susan Schneider; Kathrin Schweizer; Serpentine Gallery, London; Keith Shapiro; Karen Simonian; Sound Lounge; John Steele; Kelsey Sundberg; Liane Thatcher; Fleur Treglown; Vitamin Creative Space, Beijing; Tony Volante; Amy Wenzel; & Wexner Center for the Arts.
Additional Art21 Staff: Beth Allen, Mary Cook, Joe Fusaro, Jessica Hamlin, Jennifer H. Lee, Marc Mayer, Jonathan Munar, Katherine Payne, Kelly Shindler, & Sara Simonson.
Interns: Maggie Bordonaro, Krystle DeMauro, Natalia P. Good, Sophie Grant, Pinchang Huang, Joy Lai, Rachele Lam, Jamie Leonardi, Melanie K. Mambo, Pauli Ochi, Sara Odam, David Roesing, Nicole Ross, Nicole Sansone, & Julia Wright.
Public Relations: Goodman Media International. Station Relations: De Shields Associates, Inc. Legal Counsel: Albert Gottesman. Bookkeeper: Valerie Riley. Travel Agent: Lita Gottesman.
Major underwriting for Art in the Twenty-First Century Season Five provided by: National Endowment for the Arts; Public Broadcasting Service; 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.
Through the Art21 Translation Project, multilingual audiences from around the globe can contribute translations, making Art21 films more accessible worldwide.
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Cao Fei’s work reflects the fluidity of a world in which cultures have mixed and diverged in rapid evolution. Her video installations and new media works explore perception and reality in places as diverse as a Chinese factory and the virtual world of “Second Life.” Applying strategies of sampling, role play, and documentary filmmaking to capture individuals’ longings and the ways in which they imagine themselves—as hip-hop musicians, costumed characters, or digitized alter egos—Cao Fei reveals the discrepancy between reality and dream, and the discontent and disillusionment of China’s younger generation.
Alternately romantic, cerebral, and unearthly, Florian Maier-Aichen’s digitally altered photographs are closer to the realm of drawing and fiction than documentation. He embraces difficult techniques, chooses equipment that produces accidents such as light leaks and double exposures, and uses computer enhancements to introduce imperfections and illogical elements into images that paradoxically “feel” visually right, though they are factually wrong. Often employing an elevated viewpoint (the objective but haunting “God’s-eye view” of aerial photography and satellite imaging), Maier-Aichen creates idealized, painterly landscapes that function like old postcards.
Jeff Koons plucks images and objects from popular culture, framing questions about taste and pleasure. His contextual sleight-of-hand, which transforms banal items into sumptuous icons, takes on a psychological dimension through dramatic shifts in scale, spectacularly engineered surfaces, and subliminal allegories of animals, humans, and anthropomorphized objects. Organizing his own studio production in a manner that rivals a Renaissance workshop, Koons makes computer-assisted, handcrafted works that communicate through their meticulous attention to detail.
For every piece of Mary Heilmann’s work—abstract paintings, ceramics, and furniture—there is a backstory. Imbued with recollections, stories spun from her imagination, and references to music, aesthetic influences, and dreams, her paintings are like meditations or icons. Her expert and sometimes surprising treatment of paint—alternately diaphanous and goopy—complements a keen sense of color that glories in the hues and light that emanate from her laptop, and finds inspiration in the saturated colors of TV cartoons. Her compositions are often hybrid spatial environments that juxtapose two- and three-dimensional renderings in a single frame, join several canvases into new works, or create diptychs of paintings and photographs in the form of prints, slideshows, and videos.