ART21’s History in One Sitting: ART21 x Moving Image

Artsy Editorial
Feb 26, 2014 11:18PM

Since the turn of the 21st century, ART21’s flagship, Peabody Award-winning PBS broadcast series ART21 Art in the Twenty-First Century has chronicled—and been privy to—contemporary art practice across the world. In the first season alone, the series captured artists like Richard Serra, Sally Mann, Matthew Barney, and Louise Bourgeois; another selected artist, Bruce Nauman, said, “I’m letting a film crew into my studio once, and I’m doing it with you.” Next week, in what ART21 Executive Director Susan Sollins calls a “match-making par excellence,” the nonprofit has teamed up with contemporary video art fair Moving Image to produce a dedicated “ART21 Lounge” as a complement to the fair’s programming. Featuring five video monitors continuously screening a selection of films, trailers, and documentaries, the lounge offers fairgoers a chance to discover the depth of ART21’s reach—beyond the PBS broadcasts—and the opportunity to experience ART21 face-to-face.

“ART21 is an organization here in New York which is visible worldwide; the edifice is the video, the online presence, and the website, and so we exist in this huge international cyber world. It is also really wonderful that via the ART21 Lounge people will have a place where they can sit down and enjoy all of it in one gulp,” Sollins says. But even though the lounge will feature four ART21 programs, Art in the Twenty-First Century, Artist to Artist, Exclusive, and New York Close Up, it still only scratches the surface of ART21’s depth. Beyond just fostering dialogue about contemporary art, ART21 aims to nurture both students and artists, even those artists who are well established. “El Anatsui was so taken with working with us when we were filming him, he told me he wanted to learn to use a camera,” Sollins said. “Our production staff helped him select and purchase an appropriate camera, and then gave him lessons in how to use it—even long distance when he was in Africa.”

But whether or not ART21 can be summed up in a single sitting, the presentation at Moving Image is no less a wonderful sampling. Stop by the lounge between March 6th and 9th for a peek at the following:

ART21 Art in the Twenty-First Century:

This section presents the trailers of the entire six seasons of the renowned PBS series, which has documented the lives and practices of 100 artists to date. “100 artists can be seen if somebody wants to do a marathon,” Sollins jokes. “Actually, we should have a prize for that.”

ART21 Artist to Artist:

“This short-form documentary series is focused on artists from around the world in conversation with each other,” Sollins says. The films each show a single artist as they tour a biennial, including Shahzia Sikander in Sharjah and Istanbul and Diana Al-Hadid in Venice. “You get a candid conversation between artists that is unusual to have access to. Plus it is a visit to a foreign place in a snapshot,” she says.

ART21 Exclusive: 

“The nature of Exclusive is keeping up with and bringing new facets of the works that the artists have made since the time we originally filmed them,” Sollins says of the project, which features new and archival footage by artists first shown in Art in the Twenty-First Century. Among the new films shown, James Turrell: Second Meeting accompanies the artist while revisiting his 1989 installation in the home of private collectors, and Ann Hamilton: The Event of a Thread captures the artist discussing her 2012 installation at the Park Avenue Armory.

ART21 New York Close Up:

Finally, New York Close Up is a web-based series that portrays artists in the first decade of their careers. Among the selection of films on view, Liz Magic Laser will be shown at work on her 2012 piece The Digital Face, Daniel Gordon is caught photographing in his DUMBO studio, and Jacolby Satterwhite, currently on the roster of the Whitney Biennial, is featured at work on 3D animated videos in his Chinatown studio.

Explore Moving Image 2014 on Artsy. 


1. Artist Diana Al-Hadid speaking with artist Katrín Sigurdardóttir about her installation "Foundation" (2013) at the Icelandic Pavilion during the 55th Venice Biennale. Production still from the series Artist to Artist. © Art21, Inc. 2013. Cinematography by Jared Schiller.

2. Artist James Turrell discussing his installation "Second Meeting" (1989) at the home of private collectors in Los Angeles, California. Production still from the series Exclusive. © Art21, Inc. 2013. Cinematography by Marc Levy.

3. Artist Ann Hamilton discussing her installation "the event of a thread" (2012) at the Park Avenue Armory. Production still from the series Exclusive. © Art21, Inc. 2013. Cinematography by Nick Ravich.

4. Production still from the New York Close Up film Liz Magic Laser Talks to the Hand. © Art21, Inc. 2012.

5. Production still from the New York Close Up film Daniel Gordon Gets Physical. © Art21, Inc. 2013.

6. Production still from the New York Close Up film Jacolby Satterwhite Dances with His Self. © Art21, Inc. 2013. 

Artsy Editorial