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Leonardo Drew in "Investigation"

Leonardo Drew, whose art career began as a child in inner city Bridgeport, Connecticut, transforms new materials—through processes of decay, oxidization, and exposure to weather—in his sculptures.

Never content with work that comes easily, Drew reaches daily beyond his comfort zone, charting a course of experimentation with his materials and processes and letting the work find its own way.

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: Lizzie Donahue. Director of Photography: Joel Shapiro. Additional Photography: David Howe, Nicholas Lindner, John Marton, Michael Miles, Rafael Salazar, Miguel Sanchez-Martin, Ian Serfontein, & Andrew David Watson. Sound: Tom Bergin, Eric Diebner, Richard Gin, Agnès Jammal, Judy Karp, Jodi Levine, Mark Mandler, Andy Paddon, Mauricio Rodriguez, & John Zecca. Assistant Camera: Alejandro Munoz.

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: Leonardo Drew; Thomas Hirschhorn; Graciela Iturbide; Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York; Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York; Stephen Friedman Gallery, London; & Vigo Gallery, London.

Special Thanks: The Art21 Board of Trustees; Tanya Barson; Janet Bethea; Scott Briscoe; Lex Brown; Jeral Crichlow; Dia Art Foundation; Harry Drake; Erik Farmer; Framerunner; Frida Kahlo Museum; Forest Houses; Dominique Harrison; Heard City; Barbara Jenkins; Curtis Jones; Faye Jones; Dannion Jordan; Romain Lopez; Michael Morrisey; New York City Housing Authority; Marcella Paradise; Paulina Pardo; Pat Casteel Transcripts; Claudia Pretelin; Yasmil Raymond; Rocha Iturbide Family; Stanley Scott; Susie Shaw; Richard Stamats; Tate Modern; Clyde Thompson Jr.; & Freddy Velez.

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.

Major underwriting for Season 7 of Art in the Twenty-First Century is provided by National Endowment for the Arts, PBS, Agnes Gund, Bloomberg, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, The Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, Toby Devan Lewis, and Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

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

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

Leonardo Drew

Although often mistaken for accumulations of found objects, Leonardo Drew’s sculptures are instead made of “brand new stuff”—materials such as wood, rusted iron, cotton, paper, and mud—that he intentionally subjects to processes of weathering, burning, oxidation, and decay. Whether jutting out from a wall or traversing rooms as freestanding installations, his pieces challenge the architecture of the space in which they’re shown. Never content with work that comes easily, Drew constantly reaches beyond “what’s comfortable” and charts a course of daily investigation, never knowing what the work will be about but letting it find its way, and asking, “What if….”

“My people’s history is not about just Black people. It’s about all of us.”

Leonardo Drew

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Leonardo Drew

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Leonardo Drew

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