Our latest Exclusive video short is now live! Click to watch El Anatsui: Studio Process on Art21.org.
Filmed at his Nsukka, Nigeria studio in 2011, artist El Anatsui describes the collaborative and contemplative setting where his artworks are made. Anatsui employs a team of assistants to construct “blocks” of joined bottle caps that are then shifted around on the studio’s floor. In looking at the patterns and textures created by this process, often through his digital photographs, Anatsui is able to form ideas for new work.
El Anatsui is featured in the Season 6 (2012) episode “Change,” of the Art in the Twenty-First Century program on PBS. Watch full episodes online for free via Art21.org, PBS Video or Hulu, as a paid download via iTunes, or as part of a Netflix streaming subscription.
CREDITS: Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Calistus Eziokwu. Sound: Ian Forster. Editor: Morgan Riles. Artwork Courtesy: El Anatsui. Special Thanks: Jack Shainman Gallery. Theme Music: Peter Foley.
A very big thanks to Bill Bilowit and Grela Orihuela of Wet Heat Project for their in-depth series of texts and videos exploring the “Goings & Comings” of artists in and out of Miami. If you want to see more work by Wet Heat Project, visit their website here and view more of their short documentary films here.
Next up is Colin Darke, an artist, writer, and attorney based in Detroit, Michigan. Colin has exhibited extensively throughout Michigan, and in 2010 Rackstraw Downes, a 2009 MacArthur Fellow, selected one of Colin’s pieces for the 18th Annual National Juried Exhibition at the Bowery Gallery in New York City. Colin writes for the Brooklyn-based art blog Hyperallergic, and is a cultural critic for The Huffington Post. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the cultural webzines TheDetroiter.com and ArtSibs.com. You can visit Colin’s website here. We’re looking forward to Colin’s posts over the next two weeks!
Our latest New York Close Up is now live! Click to watch “David Brooks Tears the Roof Off” on Art21.org’s NYCU website!
What happens when a suburban roof is transplanted to an urban block? In this film, artist David Brooks and a team of fabricators construct Desert Rooftops (2011–12), an Art Production Fund commission for the last undeveloped lot in Manhattan’s Times Square neighborhood. Built on-site by SFDS Fabrication & Design Shop, the “real scale” roofs are modeled after residential homes and manufactured with the same materials and techniques—only without the supporting walls underneath. Brooks explains how the rambling rooftops are inspired by the housing boom and bust in South Florida, heedlessly encroaching on the protected Everglades like a virus. Seen as a whole, the undulating profile of shingled roofs takes on the appearance of a desert landscape of rolling dunes. Brooks’s humorous critique of McMansion architecture metaphorically links suburban sprawl, a monoculture in which the landscape is dominated and degraded by human development, to the contemporary environmental problem of desertification. Breaking with the resource-devouring logic of home construction, at the project’s completion Brooks and the Art Production Fund recycled all the materials through the non-profit housing organizations Build It Green and Habitat for Humanity.
David Brooks (b. 1975, Brazil, Indiana, USA) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
CREDITS | New York Close Up Created & Produced by: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Editor: Joaquin Perez. Cinematography: Ian Forster, Nicholas Lindner, Amanda Long, Rafael Moreno Salazar, Andrew David Watson & Ava Wiland. Sound: Scott Fernjack, Ian Forster & Wesley Miller. Associate Producer: Ian Forster. Production Assistant: Amanda Long & Tida Tippapart. Design & Graphics: Crux Studio & Open. Artwork: David Brooks. Additional Photography: NASA Earth Observatory Collection, SFDS Fabrication & Design Shop, & U.S. Geological Survey. Thanks: Art Production Fund, Yvonne Force Villareal, Jason McCullough, Doreen Remen, SFDS Fabrication & Design Shop, Sotheby’s, The Shubert Organization & Times Square Alliance. An Art21 Workshop Production. © Art21, Inc. 2012. All rights reserved.
Our latest Exclusive video is now live! Click here to watch “Ai Weiwei: New Communication” on Art21.org!
In one of his first on-camera interviews following his release from detention in 2011, Ai Weiwei discusses the potential for artists to express themselves online and encourages artists to be more aware of shifts in social media. This episode is filmed in Ai’s Beijing studio—where the artist uses Twitter on a daily basis to share ideas, question authority, and create dialogue—with Mandarin Chinese tweets translated into English.
Ai Weiwei on Twitter: @aiww.
Ai Weiwei is featured in the Season 6 (2012) episode “Change“ of the Art in the Twenty-First Century series on PBS. Watch full episodes online for free via Art21.org, PBS Video or Hulu, as a paid download via iTunes, or as part of a Netflix streaming subscription.
CREDITS: Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Phil Tinari. Camera: Takahisa Araki. Sound: Lin Hau. Editor: Morgan Riles. Artwork Courtesy: Ai Weiwei. Tweet Translation: @aiwwenglish & @hlkalin. Additional Translation: Amy Qing Lin. Theme Music: Peter Foley.
We’re excited to announce the launch of “Transmission,” a new column on the Art21 Blog penned by former guest blogger Amelia Ishmael. During her two week guest blog stint last year, Amelia wrote about the visual culture of black metal music and its links to contemporary art. Now, she’ll focus on the broader relationship between art and rock music by highlighting projects that interweave the subcultures found in both. With a special interest in artworks that engage Rock, Punk, and Metal, “Transmission” is devoted to recording the sites where light and sound currents collide, intermix, and inform one another. Amelia tells us,
“The column’s objective is to swim in the pleasurable waves within the sea of aural and visual interactions in ways that blur traditional disciplinary boundaries. But this is not purposeless play. ‘Transmission’ also aims to intervene within art historical canons by emphasizing the threads of music throughout art (referred to by some as art’s “minor histories”) and to argue for their place in conversations of contemporary art.”
Amelia Ishmael is an artist whose practice includes critiquing, historicising, teaching, and curating other artists’ practices. Her areas of specialization are Black Metal art and the history of photography. Amelia’s current projects include curating the traveling art exhibition ”Black Thorns in the White Cube,” and serving as co-editor and curator of pages for Helvete, a journal of Black Metal theory. She has presented her gleanings on Black Metal and contemporary art at the Black Metal Theory Symposium in London, U.K. and the Home of Metal Conference in Wolverhampton, U.K. Ishmael’s writings have appeared in ArtSlant, Art in Print, Art Papers, and Review. She received a BFA in Photography and New Media from the Kansas City Art Institute and a MA in Modern Art History, Theory, and Criticism from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her personal website can be found here.
“Transmission” posts on the first Tuesday of each month.
Thanks so much to our last blogger Emily Colucci for her fantastic series of posts focusing on artists who remain committed to making their own work, with their own hands. Next up, we’re excited to welcome Bill Bilowit and Grela Orihuela 0f Wet Heat Project, a Miami-based independent film production company that focuses on contemporary art. Over the next two weeks, Bill and Grela will be sharing videos they’ve shot specifically for their guest stint on the Art21 Blog. The video series will focus on “comings and goings:” artists and art practitioners who have recently moved to or from Miami discussing the reasons behind these moves, and their impacts.
Wet Heat Project was launched in 2007 by Bill Bilowit and Grela Orihuela to produce independent and commissioned documentary films and events with a focus on contemporary art. The Project’s original subjects have included a wide diversity of artists and practices in their adopted home of Miami as the city shapes itself into a unique international art nexus. The Project is now expanding to the partners’ native New York, with forays to cities near and far as the topics entail. Orihuela is the Project’s executive producer; Bilowit is director, writer, and event developer.
Bill’s film production career began with 16mm camera work and assistant editing in New York, low-budget horror movie art direction and effects in the early 1980s, followed by more than 15 years of creating marketing videos for Sony and Canon shepherding in the global, historic transition from analog to digital. In 2002 he returned to fiction and non-fiction films as writer-director with producer Grela, establishing Tareco Pictures. Concurrently with Wet Heat Project, Bill collaborates and contracts with artists on digital film/video projects as a shooter, editor, and workflow consultant.
Grela graduated from NYU Film School in the 1980s and worked directly for two marketing and promotion legends: Bloomingdale’s fashion director Kal Ruttenstein and rock n ‘roll impresario Bill Graham. From iconic fashion and music events she moved to producing news at WABC-TV, executive producing at Telemundo Network, and developing independent Spanish-language programming. In the late 1980s she began 15 years of producing international corporate mega-conferences, concerts and expositions until 2002, when she established Tareco Pictures with partner Bill Bilowit. Concurrently with Wet Heat Project, Orihuela produces and curates original video art exhibitions and thematic multi-disciplinary exhibits.
We’re thrilled to have Bill and Grela on board!
Have today’s politicians become bad method actors? In this film, artist Liz Magic Laser directs the premiere of “I Feel Your Pain” (2011), a Performa 11 Commission, at the SVA Theater in Chelsea, Manhattan. Transforming interviews between politicians and journalists into dramatic scenes performed by actors, Laser examines how emotive theatrical techniques are being used on America’s political stage to engineer public opinion. Exchanges between public figures such as Governor Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, House Speaker John Boehner and Lesley Stahl, President Barack Obama and Bill O’Reilly—as well as a press conference by Representative Anthony Weiner—are recast as intimate conversations between couples in romantic relationships, played with tragicomic effect by the actors Annie Fox and Rafael Jordan, Ryan Shams and Liz Micek, Ray Field and Kathryn Grody. Throughout the four act performance, Laser adopts agitprop theater tactics drawn from the tradition of the “living newspaper” including a mischievous clown played by Audrey Crabtree, who interacts with the performers and audience, and a commanding voice-over played by Lynn Berg, who provides live commentary and sound effects. Performed, filmed, and edited in real-time as a continuous live feed in the midst of an audience in a movie theater, both the actors and viewers are projected onto the cinema screen, heightening the emotional resonance of the performances while implicating audience members’ reactions.
Liz Magic Laser (b. 1981, New York City, NY, USA) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
CREDITS | “New York Close Up” Created & Produced by: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Editor: Brad Kimbrough. Cinematography: Rafael Moreno Salazar, Andrew David Watson & Ava Wiland. Sound: Scott Fernjack & Ian Forster. Associate Producer: Ian Forster. Production Assistant: Amanda Long. Design & Graphics: Crux Studio & Open. Artwork: Liz Magic Laser. Additional Camera & Sound: Will Chu, David Guinan, Alex Hadjiloukas, Collin Kornfeind, Liz Magic Laser, Matthew Nauser, Brandon Polanco, Polemic Media, Irwin Seow & Tristan Shepherd. Thanks: Lynn Berg, Audrey Crabtree, Ray Field, Annie Fox, Roselee Goldberg, Kathryn Grody, Tom Huhn, Rafael Jordan, Liz Micek, Esa Nickle, Performa, Ryan Shams & SVA Theater. An Art21 Workshop Production. © Art21, Inc. 2012. All rights reserved.
“New York Close Up” is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; Toby Devan Lewis; Lambent Foundation of Tides Foundation; the Dedalus Foundation, Inc.; and the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc. Additional support provided by The 1896 Studios & Stages, and by individual contributors.
Our latest Exclusive video is now live! Click to watch Episode #159, “Nancy Spero: Collaboration” on Art21.org.
Filmed in 2006 and 2007 at her New York City studio, Nancy Spero (1926-2009) discusses how collaborations with other artists activated her work by allowing for greater variation. In working with others and drawing from an extensive collection of acquired and original figural images, Spero was able to produce art late into her life. Spero’s piece for the Venice Biennale, “Maypole / Take No Prisoners” (2007), is shown in process as one of her severed head images is printed on metal by an artist who is encouraged to alter the reproduction so that it looks “war-torn and bloody.”
Nancy Spero is featured in the Season 4 (2007) episode, “Protest” of the Art in the Twenty-First Century series on PBS. Watch full episodes online for free via Art21.org, PBS Video or Hulu, as a paid download via iTunes, or as part of a Netflix streaming subscription.
CREDITS: Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Nick Ravich & Joel Shapiro. Sound: Roger Phenix & Merce Williams. Editor: Morgan Riles. Artwork Courtesy: Nancy Spero. Special Thanks: Amanda Donnan, Mary-Beth Gregg & Samm Kunce. Theme Music: Peter Foley.
We’re thrilled to announce the launch of the Art21 Blog’s newest column, Word is a Virus, penned by former blogger-in-residence Carol Cheh, a writer and curator based in Los Angeles. You’ll remember Carol as the ringleader of the #OccupyArt21 series of guest blog posts from last January, and she has also contributed posts to Looking at Los Angeles. We’re so happy that Carol is writing this monthly column, which will post on the third Monday of each month.
So what’s this new column all about? Says Carol, “Word is a Virus is a secret rendezvous point for two mutually exclusive yet intimately connected practices: art and the written word. I am myself the intersection between art and words, being a writer who writes about art. But through this column I’m going to explore manifestations of this erratic yet passionate coupling as it occurs out in the world—through artists’ writings and books, conceptual and text-based artworks, literary inspirations that lead to art and vice versa, and other intriguing projects that sit on the border between the visual and the writerly.”
The column takes its title from William S. Burroughs’s 1962 The Ticket That Exploded, which is part of Burroughs’s “cut up trilogy,” three novels made by cutting and splicing together new writings with old. Burroughs developed this revolutionary technique in collaboration with artist Brion Gysin. From the book:
“From symbiosis to parasitism is a short step. The word is now a virus. The flu virus may once have been a healthy lung cell. It is now a parasitic organism that invades and damages the lungs. The word may once have been a healthy neural cell. It is now a parasitic organism that invades and damages the central nervous system. Modern man has lost the option of silence. Try halting your sub-vocal speech. Try to achieve even ten seconds of inner silence. You will encounter a resisting organism that forces you to talk. That organism is the word.”
A bit more about Carol’s professional background: she is the founder of Another Righteous Transfer!, a blog that explores LA’s performance art scene, and a regular contributor to LA Weekly and Artillery, among other outlets. Her curatorial projects have included You Don’t Bring Me Flowers: An Evening of Re-Performances (PØST, 2010) and Signals: A Video Showcase (Orange County Museum of Art, 2008). And as previously mentioned, in January 2012, she organized #OccupyArt21, a two-week guest stint on the Art21 blog in which 10 artists contributed written works addressing the Occupy LA movement.
Welcome Carol, and stay tuned for the debut of “Word is a Virus” later this afternoon!
Our huge thanks to Nina Horisaki-Christens for her wonderfully in-depth series of posts on the relation of performance art to the object! We hope to have Nina back on the blog again soon.
Next up, we’re pleased to introduce Emily Colucci as our newest blogger-in-residence. Emily is a New York-based arts writer who writes primarily as a contributor for Hyperallergic but has also published articles in Bomb Magazine, White Hot Magazine, Cacao Magazine, 22 Magazine, Anamesa and has also contributed to the Art 21 Blog. Her main interests lie in New York art from the 1970s and 1980s and current artists that maintain that same punk, Do-It-Yourself aesthetic. In addition to writing for several publications, she has also curated a Brooklyn Arts Council Regrant-awarded performance of Michael Alan’s Living Installation, a New York staple for 7 years in which artist Michael Alan turns performers into living sculptures.
Emily also focuses on issues of AIDS activism and LGBTQ issues in the arts. Graduating from New York University with an interdisciplinary Master’s in Art History and Gender/Sexuality Studies, she organized a panel discussion on the issues surrounding David Wojnarowicz’s film “A Fire In My Belly” with panelists Dr Thomas Crow, Karen Finley and Leon Hilton, as well as published an academic article on David Wojnarowicz’s representations of his mentor and lover Peter Hujar. She has also worked in various art-related institutions including the Andy Warhol Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Grey Art Gallery, Artnet, Cuchifritos Project Space and Sikkema Jenkins & Co but has always considered writing, particularly writing about art, her real passion.