In celebration of the fifth season of Art:21—Art in the Twenty-First Century, premiering this fall on PBS, the current round of Flash Points topics correspond to our four thematic episodes: Compassion, Fantasy, Transformation, and Systems.
Lastly, after a series of illuminating posts on Transformation (thanks to our fabulous guest editor Hrag Vartanian), we conclude this series with Systems. The Systems episode features artists who realize complex projects, whether through acts of appropriation, accumulation, collaboration, or creating projects so vast in scope as to elude comprehension.
Keeping with Flash Points tradition, we always highlight a key question to consider over the course of a topic’s run. To this end, we ask:
Can art transcend paradigms?
Additional questions to ponder include:
- How and why do artists use systems?
- Why do we find comfort in some systems while rebelling against others?
- What new forms of grammar and logic do artists invent in today’s supercharged, information-based society?
Throughout this time, we’ll publish in-depth posts about the artists profiled in Systems — John Baldessari, Kimsooja, Julie Mehretu, and Allan McCollum— as well as feature musings from our roster of guest writers, extending the theme beyond the series to real world networks, matrices, conventions, and subversions.
Help us start the conversation by leaving a comment below. Feel free to note other artists whose work addresses the topic of systems — we’d love to collectively envision a broader landscape of how it is considered in contemporary art practice. And save the date for the premiere Systems episode which debuts nationwide October 28, 2009 on PBS!