Flashback

Twelve Artists on Publics

Glenn Ligon (b. 1960), Hands, 1996. Silkscreen ink and gesso on unstretched canvas. 82 × 144 in. (208.3 × 365.8 cm). Collection of Eileen Harris Norton © Glenn Ligon; photograph by Fredrik Nilsen

Glenn Ligon. Hands, 1996. Silkscreen ink and gesso on unstretched canvas; 82 × 144 inches. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen. Collection of Eileen Harris Norton © Glenn Ligon

The “Publics” Issue of the ART21 Magazine coincides with the seventh season of ART21 Art in the Twenty-First Century, premiering on PBS this fall. The act of broadcasting, in our case, making contemporary art accessible to television audiences, inspired this issue. Contributing writers touch on ideas of viewership, multiplicity, accessibility, and community—and question what these words, so common in contemporary art, actually mean.

To kick off this issue, we have compiled twelve ART21 videos from two of our short-form film series: Exclusive and New York Close Up. The featured artists discuss their public installations, how audiences have interacted with their work, and their efforts to involve viewers in the creative process.


assume vivid astro focus: Masks
From the ART21 Exclusive series

“Whenever we make our installations, whenever we make our events, everybody inside that room should be equal to each other; there has to be the sensation of equality among people. I mean, that’s one of the reasons that we use the mask.” —Eli Sudbrack of assume vivid astro focus

assume vivid astro focus was featured in Season 6 of ART21 Art in the Twenty-First Century.


Mel Chin: Paydirt
From the ART21 Exclusive series

“Thirty percent of the childhood population of New Orleans was blood poisoned with lead before Katrina. It is in the blood. This was the compelling beginning of this project [Operation Paydirt], when I realized that something had to be done.” —Mel Chin

Chin was featured in Season 1 of ART21 Art in the Twenty-First Century.


Ann Hamilton: the event of a thread
From the ART21 Exclusive series

“The cloth is raising and lowering with the swings. Everyone’s presence registers in some way in the materials of it and that in turn makes its weaving.” —Ann Hamilton

Hamilton was featured in Season 1 of ART21 Art in the Twenty-First Century.


Liz Magic Laser’s Guerrilla Theater
From the ART21 New York Close Up series

“You’re given this opportunity to save my life, [which you're] not actually able to do in the movies, and I think that’s a really interesting place to put audiences members in.” —Lia Woertendyke, actor and collaborator


Glenn Ligon: Layers of Meaning
From the ART21 Exclusive series

“Someone can walk into a museum and not know a single thing about a Jackson Pollock painting and still have a reaction to it, still get something from it. The thing that they get from it may be richer if they know more about it, but that’s like anything. You know, that’s about being in the world.” —Glenn Ligon

Ligon was featured in Season 6 of ART21 Art in the Twenty-First Century.


Gabriel Orozco: Spanish Lessons
From the ART21 Exclusive series

“I think it was interesting to me to see what happens if you expose the public that comes to these types of exhibitions; to make an effort to try to understand or to speak Spanish.” —Gabriel Orozco

Orozco was featured in Season 2 of ART21 Art in the Twenty-First Century.


Lari Pittman: Audience
From the ART21 Exclusive series

“I guess in the twenty-five years that I’ve been showing professionally, I’ve come to understand and internalize the spectator’s appraisal of the work and how it might function or does function or what annoys people about the work or what pleases people about the work.” —Lari Pittman 

Pittman was featured in Season 4 of ART21 Art in the Twenty-First Century.


Doris Salcedo: Istanbul
From the ART21 Exclusive series

“What I am trying to get out of this piece is that element that is common in all of us. And I think in a situation of war, we all experience it, every human being experiences it pretty much in the same way, either as a victim or a perpetrator … I am not narrating a particular story, I’m just addressing experiences.” —Doris Salcedo

Salcedo was featured in Season 5 of ART21 Art in the Twenty-First Century.


Jacolby Satterwhite Is Going Public
From the ART21 New York Close Up series

“Now I finally trust myself to allow someone to be the victim of my kind of investigations. I didn’t want to have people in my work when I thought my work was shit, when I was in transition, and I was figuring things out. There’s an exchange that I think is worth having.” —Jacolby Satterwhite


Behind the Scenes with Mika Tajima
From the ART21 New York Close Up series

“Even though we’ve set out the structure and are controlling the setting, the camera is also on us. That also becomes a reflection of what the projects do in general—to point back to this invisible part of making things, the production of an artwork. It’s the studio and it just so happens to be that there are people around while it’s happening.” —Mika Tajima


Ursula von Rydingsvard: Ona
From the ART21 Exclusive series

“I wanted this to feel as though one could approach the work, that one could approach it psychologically. One could also approach it physically. But they would both sort of blend… One could almost see with one’s hands as well.” —Ursula von Rydingsvard

Von Rydingsvard was featured in Season 4 of ART21 Art in the Twenty-First Century.


Ai Weiwei: New Communication
From the ART21 Exclusive series

“We are completely handling a new human condition—how to express yourself and how to make this kind of new communication. The technology for the free exchange of information has become so advanced; it changes so fast.” —Ai Weiwei

Ai was featured in Season 6 of ART21 Art in the Twenty-First Century.


This roundup was compiled with input from ART21 staffers Jessica Hamlin, Ian Forster, Wesley Miller, and Jonathan Munar.

Contributor
Nicole J. Caruth is the digital content editor at ART21 and editor of the ART21 Magazine. Her writing has appeared in a range of publications, including ARTnews, C Magazine, Gastronomica, Public Art Review, and the Phaidon Press books Vitamin Green and Vitamin D2. A regular contributor to this site since 2008, she joined the ART21 staff in 2013.

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