As the curator of online videos, I’ve spent the last several months digging through Art21’s archival footage, searching for interesting behind-the-scenes moments to present as Art21 Exclusives. So, you can imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon a series of eerily familiar videos on YouTube. Apparently, one of our industrious editors has been secretly releasing new videos online. I had completely forgotten we filmed these artists!
Compiled now, for the first time, is the lost episode of Art:21. But I fear there may be other lost videos out there. If you happen to find one on YouTube, please tag it with “art21” or let us know via our YouTube channel. And as always, feel free to leave a comment below.
“My paintings are wars,” says self-taught artist Trevor Ryan Keys Altenburg, “they’re in space…fighting.” Taking futuristic conflicts as his subject matter, Altenburg’s densely-layered acrylic paintings act as parables of contemporary violence and the military-industrial complex. While his subject matter is serious, Altenburg is quick to assert that he’s “not concerned with anything,” stressing that humor is a way to engage with many of society’s problems today.
“Being an artist is something that’s so important to me,” says German-born sculptor Bjorna Gustavson. “When I look at color anywhere,” Gustavson asks herself, “what does color mean to me, to the world?” Categorizing all of her belongings by color into complex systems, Gustavson discerns the dormant workings of her mind while resisting being pigeon-holed by the color spectrum. “It hurts when people put me in the Purple Group. I hate it.”
“I’m quite into the aesthetic of looking like an aesthetic maker,” explains conceptual artist Kunst (aka Merrill Kazanjian). “Most of you won’t begin to understand me or my work,” Kunst asserts, in an effort to displace the knowing / not-knowing paradigm that has dominated art history since the advent of Modernism. Riding the energy waves that exist in the gap between space and time, Kunst’s work lulls the viewer into a dream-like state where anything is possible.
“I don’t think there is a perfect picture,” says photographer Tom Pullin, “the perfect picture is the one that acknowledges and recognizes its imperfection.” We follow Pullin on the steps of the New York Public Library as he photographs people he meets on the street. “I guess I’m fascinated by strangers because there’s no shared history between us,” explains Pullin, who takes his artwork as an opportunity to create moments that linger in the subject’s memory.