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BoundariesPreview

Preview for the episode Boundaries from Season 6 of Art in the Twenty-First Century (2012), featuring artists David Altmejd, Tabaimo, assume vivid astro focus, and Lynda Benglis.

Who and what limits our freedom of expression? In what ways do cultural differences affect our understanding of art and other forms of communication? How do an artist’s process and choice of medium affect our perception of his or her work?

This episode features artists who synthesize disparate aesthetic traditions, present taboo subject matter, discover innovative uses of media, and explore the shape-shifting potential of the human figure.

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

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assume vivid astro focus

The collective assume vivid astro focus (avaf) was formed in New York City in 2001 by principal members are Eli Sudbrack and Christophe Hamaide-Pierson. Avaf fuses drawing, sculpture, video, and performance into carnavalesque installations in which gender, politics, and cultural codes float freely. A study in visual adaptation and modification, avaf’s work recycles and transforms imagery from one project to the next—often in the form of densely patterned wallpapers and graphic signage.

David Altmejd

With an almost childlike fascination for objects that grow, transform, and reshape themselves, David Altmejd creates sculptures, suffused with ornament, that blur distinctions between interior and exterior, surface and structure, representation and abstraction. Meaning, for Altmejd, does not exist in advance of the work in process. His interest lies in the making—the building of an object that will generate meaning. Using armatures in the forms of giants and angels that convey both human and supernatural energies, he abandons standard narrative conventions in favor of an exploration of materials, processes, and structures.

Lynda Benglis

A pioneer of a form of abstraction in which each work is the result of materials in action—poured latex and foam, cinched metal, dripped wax—Lynda Benglis has created sculptures that eschew minimalist reserve in favor of bold colors, sensual lines, and lyrical references to the human body. But her invention of new forms with unorthodox techniques also displays a reverence for cultural references that trace back to antiquity. Often working in series of knots, fans, lumps, and fountains, Benglis chooses unexpected materials, such as glitter, gold leaf, lead, and polyurethane. In more recent works, she explores diverse cultural heritages (Indian architecture, Greek statuary, Chinese ceramics), translating ancient techniques and symbols for use in contemporary contexts. In her early adoption of video, Benglis introduced feminist, biographical, and burlesque content to structuralist narratives.

Tabaimo

Tabaimo’s drawings and video installations probe the unsettling themes of isolation, contagion, and instability that seem to lurk beneath daily existence in contemporary Japan. She draws aesthetic inspiration for her animated videos from a combination of Japanese art forms, while she often sets her layered, surrealistic narratives in domestic interiors and communal spaces. Tabaimo populates her work with uncanny characters that, either through mutation or as victims of inexplicable violence, become fragmented in their relationships to the environment and their own identity. Installed in theatrical, stage-like settings, her work is attuned to the architecture and the viewers within it.

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