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Balance

In what ways can art convey equilibrium or disequilibrium? What is reality? How do artists perceive and express it?

This episode features artists whose works explore the distinctions between balance and imbalance, and demonstrate that the smallest change in a line, a formal element, or a structure can be a radical proposition.

More information and credits

Credits

Series Created By: Susan Dowling & Susan Sollins. Executive Producer & Curator: Susan Sollins. Series Producer: Eve Moros Ortega. Associate Curator: Wesley Miller. Director of Production: Nick Ravich. Production Coordinator: Ian Forster. Consulting Director: Catherine Tatge. Editor: Mark Sutton. Director of Photography: Bob Elfstrom, Joel Shapiro, & Takahisa Araki. Additional Photography: Michael Pruitt-Bruun. Sound: Ray Day, Nick Lindner, & Roger Phenix. Assistant Camera: Amy Bench, Nicholas Early, John Marton, & Michael Pruitt-Bruun. Production Assistant: Logan Needle. Assistant Editor: Crystal De Boulet, Dahlia Fischbein, Bahron Thomas, & Alex Zustra.

Art Direction and Design: Open, New York. Online Editor: Don Wyllie. Composer: Peter Foley. Voiceover Artist: Jace Alexander. Sound Editor: Margaret Crimmins & Greg Smith. Sound Mix: Cory Melious. Sound Assistant: Steve Giammaria. Artwork Animation: Frank Ferrigno. Graphics Animation: Urosh Perishic.

Artworks Courtesy of: Rackstraw Downes; Sarah Sze; @2012 Robert Mangold / Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York; Betty Cuningham Gallery, New York; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York; & The Pace Gallery, New York.

Special Thanks: The Art21 Board of Trustees; Mike Barnett; Douglas Baxter; Cannon Design; Pat Casteel; Chinati Foundation; Charlotte Cohen; Ralph Cuccurullo; Keith Eland; Philip Ennik; Friends of the High Line; General Services Administration; Sarah Goulet; Anke Jackson; Samara Levenstein; Sheila Lynch; Mascaro Construction; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Nice, France; Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY; Sylvia Plimack Mangold; Jim Powell; Emily Ruotolo; Mark Segal; Keith Shapiro; Ethan Sklar; Lauren Staub; & Steve Wylie.

Curatorial Advisory Council: Rachel Blackburn Cozad, Kris Douglas, Gary Garrels, Karen Higa, Margo Machida, Marti Mayo, Jill Medvedow, Anne Pasternack, John Ravenal, Paul Schimmel, Katy Siegel, & Judith Tannenbaum.

Additional Art21 Staff: Daniel Barrett, Carrie Caroselli, KC Forcier, Joe Fusaro, Jessica Hamlin, Claudine Isé, Marc Mayer, Jonathan Munar, Heather Reyes, Kelly Shindler, Sara Simonson, & Diane Vivona.

Interns: Alex Abelson, Paulina V. Ahlstrom, Don Edler, Lucy Healy-Kelly, Clara Jo, David Levine, Maren Miller, Molly Nathan, Tayo Ogunbiyi, & Persis Singh. Bookkeeper: Valerie Riley.

Public Relations: DKC Public Relations. Station Relations: De Shields Associates, Inc. Legal Counsel: Albert Gottesman.

Major underwriting for Art in the Twenty-First Century Season Six provided by: The National Endowment for the Arts, Agnes Gund, Bloomberg, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Broad Art Foundation, The Japan Foundation, & Toby Devan Lewis.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Licensing

Interested in showing this film in an exhibition or public screening? To license this video please visit Licensing & Reproduction.

Rackstraw Downes

Rackstraw Downes does not think of himself as a landscape painter, but as a painter of his surroundings—his environment. Often painted in a panoramic format, Downes’s images evince careful attention to details as well as to broad expanses of their surroundings. Created plein air in locations as diverse as metropolitan New York, rural Maine, and coastal and inland Texas, and without resorting to the use of photography, his compositions feature horizons that bend according to the way the eye naturally perceives. Downes often works in series, examining single scenes from multiple angles, over time, and in the process reveals changing qualities of light and shadow as well as changes in his own point of view.

Robert Mangold

With classical restraint, Robert Mangold translates the most basic of formal elements—shape, line, and color—into paintings, prints, and drawings whose simplicity of form expresses complex ideas. He renders the surface of each canvas with subtle color modulations and sinewy, hand-drawn graphite lines. While his focus on formal considerations may seem paramount, he also delights in thwarting those considerations—setting up problems for the viewer. Over the course of years and in multiple series of shaped canvases that explore variations on rings, columns, trapezoids, arches, and crosses, he has also provoked viewers to consider the idea of paintings without centers.

Sarah Sze

Sarah Sze builds her installations and intricate sculptures from the minutiae of everyday life, imbuing mundane materials, marks, and processes with surprising significance. By arranging domestic detritus and office supplies into fantastical miniatures, she builds her works, fractal-like, on an architectural scale. Whether adapting to a site or disrupting the urban fabric, Sze’s patchwork compositions mirror the improvisational quality of cities, balancing whimsy with ecological themes of interconnectivity and sustainability.