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"New York Close Up" Year 2Trailer

May 29, 2012

Art21′s Webby-nominated documentary series on art and life in New York City returned with new artists and films that premiered online June 1st and continued throughout Summer 2012.

Introducing the artists: Diana Al-Hadid, Alejandro Almanza Pereda, David Brooks, Josephine Halvorson, Liz Magic Laser, Eddie Martinez, Mika Rottenberg, and Erin Shirreff.

Welcoming back the artists: Lucas Blalock, Martha Colburn, Keltie Ferris, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Tommy Hartung, Rashid Johnson, Kalup Linzy, Shana Moulton, Mariah Robertson, and Mika Tajima.

More information and credits


MUSIC: A live recording of the phenomenal one-man band Zack Orion (New York, 05.04.12)

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

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Alejandro Almanza Pereda

Alejandro Almanza Pereda was born in 1977 in Mexico City. He formerly worked in New York, and currently lives and works between the United States and Mexico, maintaining his practice in both locales. Searching out vintage objects in flea markets and thrift stores, Almanza Pereda integrates mundane materials into large-scale sculptures that challenge both the durability of the objects and his ability to create a stable structure. Finding inspiration in the objects he selects, Almanza Pereda eschews narrative and prefers to focus on materiality.

David Brooks

David Brooks was born in 1975 in Brazil, Indiana, and lives and works in New York. Brooks’s work is driven by his interest in the ways in which humans interact with natural and built environments. Working as a volunteer with biologists in the Amazon basin, the artist draws parallels between the scientific process and an artistic desire to understand the world. His projects often bring natural elements into an art context.

Diana Al-Hadid

Diana Al-Hadid was born in 1981 in Aleppo, Syria. She was raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and currently lives and works in New York. Al-Hadid’s large-scale sculptures and wall hangings are the outcome of process-based investigations into materials, including fiberglass, polymer, steel, and plaster. Exploiting the innate tension between mass and gravity, Al-Hadid is particularly interested in the point at which her works are fixed to the ground, often seeking to create what she describes as “something that seems improbable.”

Eddie Martinez

Eddie Martinez was born in 1977 in Groton, Connecticut, and lives and works in New York. Having spent his adolescent years making graffiti, Martinez creates paintings on canvas that retain the rough, expressionistic lines and bold colors of street art. Working between representation and abstraction, he paints in oil, enamel, and spray paint while often incorporating found objects, in a fast-paced practice that could be compared to automatism. Noted for his deft draftsmanship, Martinez creates large-scale works that maintain the feeling of drawings. In addition to his paintings, Martinez creates found-object sculptures and works on paper.

Erin Shirreff

Erin Shirreff was born in 1975 in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, and now lives and works in New York. Shirreff studied sculpture, but her practice is now focused on depicting and challenging the representation of three-dimensional art objects through photography and video. Often building maquettes of large-scale works in her studio, Shirreff then manipulates the light and conditions surrounding the objects before documenting them using digital and analog tools. Describing her videos as “psychologically driven,” Shirreff explains, “My videos don’t have any beginning or end. Every moment contains it, hopefully.”

Josephine Halvorson

Josephine Halvorson was born in 1981 in Brewster, Massachusetts, formerly worked in New York, and currently lives and works in Western Massachusetts. Combining acute attention to detail and an insistence on painting from life, Halvorson gives herself only one day to complete each canvas. Traveling outside of New York to paint, she works onsite, often selecting scenes that convey a sense of postindustrial grit. Interested in her relationship to the subjects of her paintings, Halvorson resists the term painter; she prefers to think of painting as recording time spent with an object in its environment.

Kalup Linzy

Kalup Linzy was born in 1977 in Clermont, Florida, formerly worked in New York, and currently lives and works in Tampa, Florida. Linzy’s theatrical works challenge ideas of gender while embracing a wide range of pop cultural forms such as soap operas, drag performances, and censored movies and radio programs from the 1930s. He has developed nearly thirty characters based on stereotypical Hollywood figures and often performs them himself. Linzy works on all aspects of his productions—writing, directing, and filming—and he has combined his DIY aesthetic with high-profile collaborations with figures such as James Franco and Chloe Sevigny.

Keltie Ferris

Keltie Ferris was born in 1977 in Lexington, Kentucky, and lives and works in New York. Making references to Impressionism and abstract painting as well as Pop art and graffiti, his large-scale paintings are staunchly analog, despite the ease with which they can be read digitally. Ferris’s investigations into the relationship between his body and the canvas have resulted in signature body prints and emphasize the artist’s fixation with abstraction. His process for these works—layering images created by pressing his oil-covered body against the canvas surface, and then brushing or spraying pigment onto it—is one of simultaneous concealing and exposing.

LaToya Ruby Frazier

LaToya Ruby Frazier was born in 1982 in Braddock, Pennsylvania, and currently lives and works in Chicago. An artist and activist, LaToya Ruby Frazier uses photography, video, and performance to document personal and social histories in the United States, specifically the industrial heartland. Having grown up in the shadow of the steel industry, Frazier has chronicled the healthcare inequities and environmental crises faced by her family and her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania. The artist employs a radically intimate, black-and-white documentary approach that captures the complexity, injustice, and simultaneous hope of the Black American experience, often utilizing her camera and the medium of photography as an agent for social change.

Liz Magic Laser

Liz Magic Laser was born in 1981 in New York, where she lives and works. Laser’s practice includes video and performance as well as sculpture and installation. Dissecting ideas of power and how it is performed, Laser has worked with such forms as presidential speeches, TED Talks, and nightly news broadcasts. She often integrates audience participation into works that involve social and political critiques, and has staged performances in public spaces such as banks and movie theaters. More recently, Laser has expanded her interest in the construction of identities to include children and the ways in which their self-perception is influenced by the news media.

Lucas Blalock

Lucas Blalock was born in Asheville, North Carolina, in 1978 and now lives and works in New York. Citing the poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht’s insistence on a theater that reveals its labor, Blalock is interested in revealing the process behind photographic images. Equally invested in both the history and the possibility of photography, Blalock shoots with a large-format camera on film and then scans his images in order to digitally alter them.

Mariah Robertson

Mariah Robertson was born in 1975 in Indianapolis, Indiana, grew up in Sacramento, California, and lives and works in New York. A photographer often working without a camera, Robertson creates images through ceaseless darkroom experimentation. Without knowing exactly what outcomes her hand-applied color chemicals will cause, she balances this lack of control with her mastery of the material. Her willingness to push the boundaries of photography allows her a freedom not often found within the field.

Martha Colburn

Martha Colburn was born in 1971 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, formerly lived and worked in New York, and currently lives between Amsterdam and Lisbon. Colburn works for years on a single project, and her films result from intensive research and meticulously rendered stop-motion animations that include photography, collage, and painting. The artist’s vibrant imagery can belie the seriousness of the themes she addresses, which include America’s history of war and violence, and crystal-meth addiction in rural areas.

Mika Rottenberg

Mika Rottenberg was born in 1976 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, was raised in Tel Aviv, Israel, and now lives and works in upstate New York. Working in video, installation, and sculpture, Rottenberg is interested in making reality blend with her personal fiction; she features women with unconventional bodies in performances about labor, production, and the psychological implications of physical existence. The artist describes her art as trying to capture the abstract experience of being alive and to transform it into a tangible object.

Mika Tajima

Mika Tajima was born in 1975 in Los Angeles, California, and lives and works in New York. Taking international political, social, and economic points of reference as her inspiration, Tajima employs sculpture, painting, installation, and performance in her conceptual practice. She does in-depth research on topics—such as Herman Miller’s Action Office furniture line and the international price of gold—before translating her findings into physical objects that articulate and critique the ways that these things affect human lives.

Rashid Johnson

Rashid Johnson was born in 1977 in Chicago, Illinois, and lives and works in New York. Johnson, who got his start as a photographer, works across media—including video, sculpture, painting, and installation—using a wide variety of materials to address issues of African American identity and history. Invested in the artistic practices of both conceptualism and abstraction, Johnson’s installations frequently include shea butter and black soap, materials that were present throughout his childhood and that carry a particular significance within Afrocentric communities.

Shana Moulton

Shana Moulton was born in 1976 in Oakhurst, California, where she currently resides after spending a number of years living and working in New York. Moulton’s humorous performances and videos are built around her kitschy alter ego, Cynthia, a character the artist developed during graduate school. Loosely rooted in Moulton’s childhood experiences growing up in a senior-citizen trailer park that her parents owned in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, her videos are fantastical renderings in bubblegum hues, with a hint of the dark side lurking just below the surface.

Tommy Hartung

Tommy Hartung was born in 1979 in Akron, Ohio, and lives and works in New York. Growing up on a farm in upstate New York, Hartung spent countless days alone in the woods, building forts and living in a world of his imagination—which he considers the beginning of his artistic practice. Continuing to build fantastical worlds in his adult work, Hartung combines stop-motion animation and self-produced videos with found footage and cheap consumer technologies; all of his production sets are built in his studio using found objects.