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El Anatsui in "Change"

In his studio in Nigeria, artist El Anatsui oversees young studio assistants from the local community who work with him to create sculptures made from bottle caps, a found material from discarded liquor bottles that Anatsui began working with for the aesthetic properties of the caps, which also can allude to the role of international commerce in African history.

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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: Charles Atlas. Editor: Lizzie Donahue. Director of Photography: Bob Elfstrom, Mark Falstad, Gary Henoch, Ian Serfontein, Joel Shaprio, Takahisa Araki, & Andrew David Watson. Additional Photography: Calistus Eziokwu & Laura Paglin. Sound: Steve Bores, Patrick Christensen, Ray Day, Darryl Dickenson, Lin Hau, Heidi Hesse, Mark Mandler, David Williams, & Dick Williams. Assistant Camera: Dave Bouley, Liu Hui, Jin Long Nan, John Marton, Joe Price, & Ted Sikora. Production Assistant: Logan Needle, & Dan Parsons. Ai Weiwei Interview: Phil Tinari. 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: Ai Weiwei; El Anatsui; Catherine Opie; Asia Society, New York; Cleveland Clinic Art Program, Arts & Medicine Institute; Jack Shainman Gallery, New York; & Regen Projects, Los Angeles. Travel Agent: Sue Mackiewicz.

Special Thanks: The Art21 Board of Trustees; Ai Weiwei studio; El Anatsui studio; Nicole Belle; Nina Berger; Lisa Binder; Tanya Brodsky; Suzanne Bronski; Pat Casteel ; Cleveland Clinic; Joanne Cohen; Rita Cordova; Ralph Cuccurullo; Andrew Daubar; Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College ; Keith Eland; E-Shyh Wong; Jennifer Finkel; Lisa Fischman; Fotomuseum Winterthur; Harvard University; Toan Huang; Inserk Yang; Samara Levenstein; Lisson Gallery, London; Sheila Lynch; Christopher Mao; Elaine T. Meguerian; Fausto Meza; Museum for African Art, New York; Jennifer Ng; Diana Nyad; Office of the Mayor, New York; Jim Powell; Keith Shapiro; Somerset House, London; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura & Hayama; Taliesin Thomas; Larry Warsh; & 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 Season 6 of Art in the Twenty-First Century is provided by The National Endowment for the Arts, PBS, 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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El Anatsui

El Anatsui’s sculptures are mutable in form, conceived to be so free and flexible that they can be shaped in any way and altered in appearance for each installation. Working with wood, clay, metal, and—most recently—the discarded metal caps of liquor bottles, Anatsui breaks with sculpture’s traditional adherence to forms of fixed shape while visually referencing the history of abstraction in African and European art. The colorful and densely patterned fields of the works assembled from discarded liquor-bottle caps also trace a broader story of colonial and postcolonial economic and cultural exchange in Africa, told in the history of cast-off materials. The sculptures in wood and ceramics introduce ideas about the function of objects (their destruction, transformation, and regeneration) in everyday life, and the role of language in deciphering visual symbols.

El Anatsui

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El Anatsui

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El Anatsui

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El Anatsui

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