Art21 recently kicked off year three of New York Close Up, the documentary film series devoted to artists in the first decade of their professional career, living and working in New York City. “Over time, the featured artists and their extended network of friends, family, fellow artists and performers, curators, and art dealers will mirror the dynamic, multicultural qualities that make New York City a creative engine and international destination,” the producers explain. “At its core, the series is intended as a snapshot of a discrete time and place from the unique perspective of a generation of artists.” It’s with New York Close Up in mind that we devote July and August to the theme “networks.”
If we drew a diagram or mapped the twenty-five artists now included in New York Close Up, I suspect their networks and communities would repeatedly overlap. Although New York boasts a grand contemporary art world, it often feels like a village where there are few degrees of separation between any two people. This is no more evident than it is on Facebook. Sometimes being this connected is a good thing; it creates a sense of community. Networks can function as support groups, helping artists thrive. And then art itself can be a network. For the artist Mark Bradford, “It’s about taking one site and trying to connect it to another. And the imagery that goes between them is the art. It’s not actually the sites. It’s the kinetic energy between them.”
Coming to the Art21 blog in the weeks ahead are, among other things, posts about Keltie Ferris‘s painting practice; transnationalism in the work of Ellen Gallagher; the push and pull of working in a team; art activism in a globalized society; and nail salons as community art spaces. Also in store are special posts from Art21 staff and forward-thinking teachers from our ever-expanding community of Art21 Educators. Stay tuned.