Flash Points

New Flash Points Topic: Transformation

shermantransformations

Cindy Sherman, "Untitled" (2004), color photograph, Courtesy Metro Pictures

Starting today (and while the Art21 Blog editor, Kelly Shindler is on vacation), I’ll be guest editing the Art21 Blog while Kelly gets some much needed R&R. To kick off my temporary stint as blog editor, I’d like to introduce our next Flash Points series: Transformation.

The fifth season of Art:21—Art in the Twenty-First Century will premiere this fall on PBS with four thematic episodes: Compassion, Fantasy, Transformation, and Systems. In the last two months, we’ve explored Compassion and Fantasy but now we’re thrilled to present Transformation, a contemporary topic if there ever was one.

While Transformation evokes associations of all types, in relation to art the topic conjures up a long list of associations, including how we refashion identity, how we reinvent ourselves and how art adapts and changes over time.

Some of the many questions that beg to be answered, include:

  • How does our ability to transform who we are, or how we look, impact the way we see ourselves?
  • Is our ability to transform or reinvent ourselves what makes us truly modern?
  • Has our culture’s relationship to art changed and if so, how?

For the next three weeks, we’ll publish posts about the artists profiled in the forthcoming Transformation episode — Yinka Shonibare MBE, Cindy Sherman, and Paul McCarthy — as well as showcase some thoughts on the topic by guest writers, who will explore the theme beyond the series to new and interesting places.

Feel free to help us start the conversation by leaving a comment below…and save the date for the Transformation episode which debuts nationwide October 21, 2009 on PBS!

Yinka Shonibare MBE (b. United Kingdom, 1962). "Scramble for Africa" (2003). Fourteen life-size fiberglass mannequins, fourteen chairs, table, Dutch wax printed cotton, 52 x 192 x 110 in. The Pinnell Collection, Dallas. Image courtesy of the artist, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, & James Cohan Gallery, New York. © the artist. Photo: Stephen White

Yinka Shonibare MBE (b. United Kingdom, 1962). "Scramble for Africa" (2003). Fourteen life-size fiberglass mannequins, fourteen chairs, table, Dutch wax printed cotton, 52 x 192 x 110 in. The Pinnell Collection, Dallas. Image courtesy of the artist, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, & James Cohan Gallery, New York. © the artist. Photo: Stephen White

Paul McCarthy "Blockhead" (2003) and "Daddies Bighead"  (2003). Installation at Tate Modern, North Landscape. Courtesy: Hauser and Wirth Gallery London/Zurich & Luhring Augustine, New York © Paul McCarthy. Photocredit: Copyright Marcus Leith/Andrew Dunkley Tate Photography

Paul McCarthy "Blockhead" (2003) and "Daddies Bighead" (2003). Installation at Tate Modern, North Landscape. Courtesy: Hauser and Wirth Gallery London/Zurich & Luhring Augustine, New York © Paul McCarthy. Photocredit: Copyright Marcus Leith/Andrew Dunkley Tate Photography


  1. Houri Geudelekian says:

    Looking forward to learn more about Cindy Sherman. Fascinated with her transformations.

    Reply

  2. Amy says:

    I work as a waitress in a financial firm with an excellent contemporary collection. Two Cindy Sherman clown photos hang in a small meeting room there. I love how these pictures completely go against the polite, reserved social code of the place. I imagine them making the executives a bit uncomfortable as they talk about buying and selling companies. The room used to contain oil painted seascapes from the 19th century, which most of the firm preferred. They stayed in their place and complemented the rugs and furniture. The Sherman images are a little threatening by comparison. Three or four brightly colored clowns, larger than life, look down on the businessmen with ambiguous and exaggerated expressions.

    Reply

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