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What makes a compelling story? How do artists disrupt everyday reality in the service of revealing subtler truths? This episode features artists who explore the virtues of ambiguity, mix genres, and merge aesthetic disciplines to discern not simply what stories mean, but how and why they come to have meaning.More information and 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. Field Producer: Ian Forster. Editor: Mark Sutton. Director of Photography: Jarred Alterman, Claus Deubel, & Gary Henoch. Additional Photography: Linus Andersson, Amanda Björk, Niklas Forssen, Jonathan Näslund, Rafael Salazar, Miguel Sanchez-Martin, Fredrik Streiffert, Mark Walley, & Ava Wiland. Sound: Richard Gin, Agnès Jammal, Oliver Lumpe, Stephan Marshall, Johannes Oscarsson, Angela Walley, & David Williams.
Art Direction & Design: Open, New York. Online Editor: Don Wyllie. Composer: Peter Foley. Voiceover Artist: Jace Alexander, Dale Soules, & Joe Urla. Sound Mix: Cory Melious. Sound Edit: Matt Snedecor. Graphics Animation: CRUX Design. Artwork Animation: Stephanie Andreou. Assistant Editor: Carla Naranjo, Danny Rivera, Leana Siochi, Elizabeth J. Theis, & Bahron Thomas.
Artworks Courtesy of: Omer Fast; Katharina Grosse; Joan Jonas; Electronic Arts Intermix, New York; gb agency, Paris; & Johann König, Berlin.
Special Thanks: The Art21 Board of Trustees; Amaral Custom Fabrications; Bildmuseet; Micah Bozeman; Daniel Desure; Forest City Ratner; Framerunner; Hans Grosse; Hamburger Bahnhof; Heard City; Andria Hickey; Kellie Honeycutt; Kulturhuset Stadsteatern; Natalija Martinovic; Jason Moran; Nasher Sculpture Center; NorrlandsOperan; Pat Casteel Transcripts; Public Art Fund; Sam Rauch; Roy Lichtenstein Foundation; Estate of Roy Lichtenstein; Elisa Schroer; Ulrika Sten; & Iris Ströbel.
Additional Art21 Staff: Cristiana Baik, Nicole J. Caruth, KC Forcier, Joe Fusaro, Jessica Hamlin, Jonathan Munar, Alexis Patterson, Heather Reyes, Diane Vivona, & Nechama Winston.
Public Relations: CaraMar Publicity. Station Relations: De Shields Associates, Inc. Legal Counsel: Albert Gottesman.
In Memoriam: Susan Sollins, visionary creator of Art21 and Art in the Twenty-First Century.
Through the Art21 Translation Project, multilingual audiences from around the globe can contribute translations, making Art21 films more accessible worldwide.
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A pioneer of performance and video art, Joan Jonas works in video, installation, sculpture, and drawing, often collaborating with musicians and dancers to realize improvisational works that are equally at home in the museum gallery and on the theatrical stage. Drawing on mythic stories from various cultures, Jonas invests texts from the past with the politics of the present. By wearing masks in some works, and drawing while performing on stage in others, she disrupts the conventions of theatrical storytelling to emphasize potent symbols and critical self-awareness. From masquerading in disguise before the camera to turning mirrors on the audience, she turns doubling and reflection into metaphors for the tenuous divide between subjective and objective vision, and the loss of fixed identities.
Katharina Grosse is a painter who often employs electrifying sprayed acrylic colors to create large-scale sculptural environments and smaller wall works. Interested in the shifts of scale between ‘imagining big’ while being small in relationship to one’s surroundings, she explores the dynamic interplay between observing the world and simply being in it. By uniting a fluid perception of landscape with the ordered hierarchy of painting, Grosse treats both architecture and the natural world as an armature for expressive compositions of dreamy abandon, humorous juxtaposition, and futuristic flair.
Omer Fast’s multichannel video installations blur the boundaries between documentary, dramatization, and fantasy, frequently generating viewers’ confusion. Fast often anchors his narratives with a conversation between two people—whether subjects recounting their own stories or actors playing roles of interviewer and interviewee. As dialogues escalate in tension, portraits of carefully calibrated identity emerge. Through repetition and reenactment, multiple takes of given scenes build shades of interpretation as a story is told, retold, and mythologized.
“My work does not exist in the court of law. It exists in the space of art and the space of art allows for ambiguities and for contradictions.”