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Wolfgang Laib in "Legacy"

Inspired by the teachings of Laotzi, by the modern artist Brancusi, and by formative experiences with his family in Germany and India, Wolfgang Laib’s sculptures seem to connect the past and present, the ephemeral and eternal. His attention to human scale, duration of time, and his choice of materials give his works the power to transport us to unexpected realms of memory, sensory pleasure, and contemplation.

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: Jarred Alterman, Rafael Salazar, Miguel Sanchez-Martin, Ian Serfontein, & Joel Shapiro. Additional Photography: Mark Falstad, David Howe, Rafael de la Uz, & Ava Wiland. Sound: Tom Bergin, Richard Gin, Heidi Hesse, Agnès Jammal, Mauricio Rodriguez, Rob Shire, Paul Stadden, & Merce Williams. Assistant Camera: Garrett Burns, Alejandro Munoz, & Irwin Seow.

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: Tania Bruguera; Abraham Cruzvillegas; Wolfgang Laib; Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris; kurimanzutto, Mexico City; & Sperone Westwater Gallery, New York. Archival Footage & Photography: Bunker, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; & Tate Media, London.

Special Thanks: The Art21 Board of Trustees; María de los Angeles Fuentes; Alejandra Carrillo; Ilse Cornelis; Deborah Cristiano; Annette Eliëns; Lucile Fay; Annie Fletcher; Framerunner; Neshi Galindo; Charlotte Du Genestoux; Dominique Harrison; Heard City; Amelia Hinojosa; Immigrant Movement International; Meredith Kessler; Carolyn Laib; Silvia Juliana Mantilla Ortiz; Cristian Manzutto; Aliza Nisenbaum; Paulina Pardo; Pat Casteel Transcripts; The Phillips Collection; Queens Museum; Raices Group; Prerana Reddy; Alvaro F. Rodas; Patrick Rowe; David Strauss; Van Abbemuseum; Walker Art Center

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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Wolfgang Laib

Inspired by the teachings of the ancient Taoist philosopher Laozi, by the modern artist Brancusi, and the legacy of formative life experiences with his family in Germany and India, Wolfgang Laib creates sculptures that seem to connect that past and present, the ephemeral and the eternal. Working with perishable organic materials (pollen, milk, wood, and rice) as well as durable ones that include granite, marble, and brass, he grounds his work by his choice of forms—squares, ziggurats, and ships, among others. Laib’s attention to human scale, duration of time, and his choice of materials give his work the power to transport us to expected realms of memory, sensory pleasure, and contemplation.

“It’s not my task to explain this. That is the secret, and the beauty, and the power, and the potential of all this.”

Wolfgang Laib

Using Natural Materials

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Mark Dion

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