Alfredo Jaar was born in Santiago, Chile in 1956. He estudied at the Instituto Chileno-Norteamericano de Cultura, Santiago (1979) and Universidad de Chile, Santiago (1981). In installations, photographs, film, and community-based projects, Jaar explores the public’s desensitization to images and the limitations of art to represent events such as genocides, epidemics, and famines. Jaar’s work bears witness to military conflicts, political corruption, and imbalances of power between industrialized and developing nations. Subjects addressed in his work include the holocaust in Rwanda, gold mining in Brazil, toxic pollution in Nigeria, and issues related to the border between Mexico and the United States. Many of Jaar’s works are extended meditations or elegies, including Muxima (2006), a video that portrays and contrasts the oil economy and extreme poverty of Angola, and The Gramsci Trilogy (2004-05)‚ series of installations dedicated to the Italian philosopher Antonio Gramsci, who was imprisoned under Mussolini’s Fascist regime. Jaar has received many awards, including a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Award (2000); a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (1987); and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1987); and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1985). He has had major exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2005); Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rome (2005); MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1999); and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1992). Jaar emigrated from Chile in 1981, at the height of Pinochet’s military dictatorship. His exhibition at Fundación Telefónica Chile, Santiago (2006) is his first in his native country in twenty-five years. Jaar lives and works in New York.
Watch a clip from Jaar’s Art:21 segment:
“People describe me sometimes as a conceptual artist, as a political artist, with work of a strong political connotation or social content. I always reject those labels. I’m an artist and believe it or not I’m interested in beauty and not afraid of it. It is an essential tool to attract my audience and sometimes I use it to introduce horror because the audience has to be seduced…Beauty becomes a tool to bring the audience in. And once they are closer, they discover other things. That’s a very good metaphor for what life is.”
(taken from the companion book Art in the Twenty-First Century 4, p. 35).
Read more about his work and watch additional clips on his Art:21 webpage here.
Have you experienced Jaar’s work in person, or did you have an opportunity to view his segment in one of the hundreds of Art21 Access ’07 events that have been taking place all month? Share your thoughts on Alfredo Jaar by leaving a comment below.
“Pittman‚Äôs work still grabs, holds, orchestrates and choreographs attention in ways that are both highly pleasurable and instructive to the eye. This apparent return to his late-‚Äô80s abstract indeterminacy manages to fold in all the robust formal experimentation and noir content of the intervening years, while freeing the work from its culture-specific moorings. In a career that resembles a virtuosic balancing act, Pittman‚Äôs new work is a dazzling conflation of a hard-wired populism and conservative elitism (in the best, nurturing sense) that raises the stakes to a global level,” Harvey writes.
Season 2 Protest premieres Sunday, November 4, 2007 at 10 p.m.
Check local listings
How does contemporary art engage politics, inequality, and the many conflicts that besiege the world today? Episode 2 of Season 4 of Art:21–Art in the Twenty-First Century examines the ways in which four artists use their work to picture war, express outrage, and empathize with the suffering of others. Whether bearing witness to tragic events, presenting alternative histories, or engaging in activism, the artists interviewed in Protest use visual art as a means to provoke personal transformations and question social revolutions. Protest is shot on location in New York, New York; Hoosick Falls, New York; Wappingers Falls, New York; Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California; and Santiago, Chile.
about the artists
For decades, Nancy Spero has drawn from the political to create compelling works of art that make a statement against war, the abuse of power and our male-dominated society. Regarding her paintings made during the Vietnam War, Spero says: ‚”I guess maybe my art can be said to be a protest “The War” paintings are certainly a protest because it was done with indignation.” Spero further explains how the politically-inspired work of her late husband, Leon Golub, not only stimulated, but also posed a challenge for her own work. “It was pretty damned difficult contending with someone who was so brilliant,” she says. Viewers observe Spero as she creates a new work for the Venice Biennale.
Landscape photographer An-My Lê is fascinated by military war exercises. “I think my main goal is to try to photograph landscape in such a way so that history could be suggested through the landscape, whether industrial history or my personal history,” she says. Lê discusses her return to Vietnam, where she grew up amid the violence of the Vietnam War, to photograph people’s activities, revisit childhood memories, and reconnect with her homeland, as well as her experience photographing military re-enactors, whom she found on the Internet. Unable to travel to Iraq to document current U.S. incursions in the Middle East, Lê worked with marines training at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California.
“I strongly believe in the power of a single idea” says Alfredo Jaar. “My imagination starts working based on research, based on a real life event, most of the time a tragedy that I’m just starting to analyze, to reflect on – this real life event to which I’m trying to respond.” Through his work, Jaar explores both the public’s desensitization to images and the limits of art to represent events such as genocide. Art21 follows and films Jaar in his native Chile during a major retrospective of his work, which he shares for the first time with the Chilean public‚ a triumphant and moving homage in his homeland after leaving to live abroad shortly after the Pinochet regime’s military coup.
Jenny Holzer discusses the concepts behind some of her most well-known projects, including For 7 World Trade (2006), for which she projected text onto a glass wall of the lobby. Much of Holzer’s work focuses on devastation and cruelty, and uses the words of others. “I stopped writing my own text in 2001,” she explains. “I found that I couldn’t say enough adequately and so it was with great pleasure that I went to the text of others.” Viewers observe Holzer creating new work as she prepares an exhibition of paintings and prints of declassified, redacted government documents, some of which are letter-size, while others are blown-up to an overwhelming scale “in hopes that people will recoil,” she says.
The retrospective exhibition includes early drawings, paintings, and prints, as well as later sculptures and installations, providing an opportunity to reassess Bourgeois‚Äô work.
While Bourgeois, who was featured in Season 1 of Art:21‚ÄîArt in the Twenty-First Century, has worked her way through most of the twentieth century‚Äôs avant-garde movements, from abstraction to realism, she has always remained distinctively individual, powerfully inventive, and often at the forefront of contemporary art.
Her work is characterized by an obsessive subject matter and an experimental approach to materials and techniques, but despite the way the object is created and presented, her main subject remains the same: femininity, sexuality, childhood trauma, and isolation.
The Tate Modern exhibition explores Bourgeois‚Äôs core themes and demonstrates that even in her 90s she continues to defy convention. And that she is still an important, unique voice in contemporary art, is validated by the exhibition Louise Bourgeois: New Work, that is on display at Hauser & Wirth, also in London.
Rachel Campbell-Johnston of The Times writes, “Bourgeois is restlessly inventive. She may be well into her nineties but she continues to experiment, as a concurrent show of new pieces at Hauser & Wirth‚Äôs old Bond Street galleries makes plain.”
The retrospective exhibition will be on view at the Tate Modern through January 2008 and will then proceed to Beaubourg in Paris. From June 2008 on, the exhibition will tour around the US. Louise Bourgeois: New Work is on view at Hauser & Wirth until November 18.
Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural Center
106 Metlakatla St.
Sitka, AK 99835
Ecology at 12:00pm
College for Creative Studies
201 E Kirby
Detroit, MI 48202
Paradox at 9:00 am
Screening for Contemporary Art History classes
This is the first in a series of spotlights on Season 4 artists published the week of their broadcast episode. Episode 2: Protest premieres this Sunday at 10pm on PBS (check local listings) and features
photographer/filmmaker An-My Lê.
An-My Lê was born in Saigon, Vietnam in 1960. Lê fled Vietnam with her family as a teenager in 1975, the final year of the war, eventually settling in the United States as a political refugee. Lê received BAS and MS degrees in biology from Stanford University (1981, 1985) and an MFA from Yale University (1993). Her photographs and films examine the impact, consequences, and representation of war. Whether in color or black-and-white, her pictures frame a tension between the natural landscape and its violent transformation into battlefields. Projects include Viêt Nam (1994-98), in which Lê’s memories of a war-torn countryside are reconciled with the contemporary landscape; Small Wars (1999-2002), in which Lê photographed and participated in Vietnam War reenactments in South Carolina; and 29 Palms (2003-04) in which United States Marines preparing for deployment play-act scenarios in a virtual Middle East in the California desert. Suspended between the formal traditions of documentary and staged photography, Lê’s work explores the disjunction between wars as historical events and the ubiquitous representation of war in contemporary entertainment, politics, and collective consciousness. She has received many awards, including fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1997) and the New York Foundation for the Arts (1996). She has had major exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2006); Henry Art Gallery, Seattle (2006); ICP Triennial (2006); P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City (2002); and the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1997). Lê lives and works in New York.
Watch a clip from Lê’s Art:21 segment:
About her work, Lê says,
“The kind of work that I make is not the standard political work. It’s not agitprop. You would think, because I’ve seen so much devastation and lived through a war, that I should make something that’s outwardly antiwar. But I am not categorically against war. I was more interested in drawing people into my work to think about the issues that envelop war – representations of war, landscape and terrain in war…What [war] is meant to do is just horrible. But war can be beautiful. I think it’s the idea of the sublime moments that are horrific but, at the same time, beautiful – moments of communion with the landscape and nature. And it’s that beauty that I want to embrace in my work. I think that’s why the work seems ambiguous. And it’s meant to be.”
(taken from the companion book Art in the Twenty-First Century 4, p. 42).
Read more about her work and watch additional clips on her Art:21 webpage here.
Have you experienced Lê’s work in person, or did you have an opportunity to view her segment in one of the hundreds of Art21 Access ’07 events that have been taking place all month? Share your thoughts on An-My Lê by leaving a comment below.
Romance, episode 1 of Art:21‚ÄîArt in the Twenty-First Century Season 4, premiered Sunday night on PBS. We at Art21 are thrilled that the new season, two years in the works, is broadcasting at long last!
So what did you think? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the episode as a whole, as well as any additional comments on its featured artists, Laurie Simmons, Judy Pfaff, Lari Pittman, and Pierre Huyghe. Let us know by leaving a comment below.
On view now at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York are more than 200 works by Kara Walker, featured artist in Season Two of Art:21‚ÄîArt in the Twenty-First Century, in her career retrospective exhibition entitled My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love.
The show presents a comprehensive grouping of Walker‚Äôs work to date, featuring paintings, drawings, shadow puppetry, light projections, and video animations. These examine notions of the raw intersection of race, gender, and sexuality through iconic, silhouetted figures, which offer an extended contemplation on the nature of figurative representation and narrative in contemporary art.
While Walker draws inspiration from sources like the antebellum South, testimonial slave narratives, historical novels, and minstrel shows, she generally conflates fact and fiction to uncover the living roots of racial and gender bias.
The complexity of her imagination and her meticulous command of art history have caused her silhouettes to cast shadows on conventional thinking about race representation in the context of discrimination, exclusion, sexual desire, and love. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs interesting that as soon as you start telling the story of racism, you start reliving the story,‚Äù Walker says. ‚ÄúYou keep creating a monster that swallows you. But as long as there‚Äôs a Darfur, as long as there are people saying ‚ÄòHey, you don‚Äôt belong here‚Äô to others, it only seems realistic to continue investigating the terrain of racism.‚Äù
First premiering at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, this exhibition, organized by Philippe Vergne and Yasmil Raymond at the Walker in close collaboration with the artist, will be at the Whitney through February 8, 2008, after which it will travel to UCLA’s Hammer Museum in Los Angeles from March 2-June 8, 2008.
Read more about the Whitney’s exhibition here.
Cleveland High School
8140 Vanalden Ave.
Reseda, CA 91335
Protest and Ecology at 6:00pm
Discussion leaders from local universities and art museums have been invited to this event. Academy of Art and Technology students will assist the panel by participating in discussion, and serve refreshments.
Austin Museum of Art
823 Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78701
Romance and Paradox at 6:00pm
Screening followed by discussion led by local college art clubs. Refreshments provided. Free with student ID.
BOMB Magazine and Art21 Present BOMBLive!
In the Open: Art in Public Spaces
Krzysztof Wodiczko interviewed by Giuliana Bruno
TONIGHT at 7pm
Monday, October 29, 7:00pm
44-19 Purves St.
Long Island City, NYC
FREE to the Public!
Krzysztof Wodiczko, Director of the Center for Art, Culture, and Technology at MIT, and featured artist in Season 3 of Art:21‚ÄîArt in the Twenty-First Century, animates architecture and public monuments by projecting stories and histories onto them. In this way, technology becomes an apparatus for projecting the self outward, for the collection of memory. Set in the midst of the body politic, his art acts as an instrument of knowledge. Giuliana Bruno, author, cultural theorist, and professor of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard, will interview the artist.
As part of this program, Wodiczko‚Äôs Art:21 segment will be screened.
Filmed with the participation of its audience, BOMBLive! events happen in a variety of settings throughout New York City. Visit www.BOMBsite.com for more information.
For directions by car: http://sculpture-center.org/gi_directions_car.html
For directions by subway: http://sculpture-center.org/gi_directions.html
Please contact Paul Morris with questions at 718.636.9100 x104 or email@example.com.