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1.

Art 21 [electronic resource]: Compassion

Might a work of art move us to temper our more destructive impulses? In what ways do artists' feelings of empathy contribute to works that tackle problematic subjects and address the human condition? Compassion, features three contemporary artists-William Kentridge, Doris Salcedo, and Carrie Mae Weems-whose unique works and experimental methods explore the conscience and the possibility of reconciling past and present while exposing injustice and expressing tolerance for others. By means of film, photo-documentary, and abstract sculpture, each artist in their own distinct style presents a testimony to the human experience and a reminder of the fragility of life.
Online
2009
2.

Art 21 [electronic resource]: Fantasy

Can art antagonize? Seduce? Inspire transformation? And if so, how might desires and taboos shape our ability to imagine? Fantasy, featuring contemporary artists Jeff Koons, Mary Heilmann, Florian Maier-Achen, and Cao Fei, explores a defiant and unconventional world of sculpture, painting, video and photography-a techno-inspired collection that is at times hallucinatory, irreverent, and sublime...as each of these artists pursues a vision first held in the mind's eye. It is a rare journey behind the scenes of the artists that transport us to unreal worlds and altered states of consciousness.
Online
2009
3.

Art 21 [electronic resource]: Systems

Why do we find comfort in some systems while rebelling against others? How can the artist use systems as a mean of expression? Systems explores these questions in the work of contemporary artists Julie Mehretu, John Baldessari, Kimsooja, and Allan McCollum - all motivated to explain and explore the infinite systems of life as they experiment with abstract composition, performance art, stenciling, photography, and unexpected collections. The work of these artists is both ethereal and thought-provoking, and the film clearly illustrates how powerful a message they are sending to the world: individuals can be both singular as well as part of whole.
Online
2009
4.

Art 21 [electronic resource]: Transformation

What happens when the artists becomes the art? In Transformation, three artists satirize society and reinvent icons of literature, art history, and pop culture by inhabiting the characters they create and capturing the sensibilities of our age. It is a personal portrait of Yinka Shonibare MBE, Cindy Sherman, and Paul McCarthy-three contemporary artists refashioning their identity by way of extreme and avant-garde techniques in costume-making, sculpting, make-up, and cinema, and casting themselves as leading "characters", so we may see ourselves, and our world, more clearly.
Online
2009
5.

Consumption [electronic resource]

With an introduction by John McEnroe (in a video created by Barbara Kruger), this program focuses on the influences a consumerist society and pop culture exert on contemporary art and vice-versa. Featured are the experimental home, "furniture" designs, clothing, and artificial island of Andrea Zittel. Paintings of Michael Ray Charles analyze the historical relationship between advertising images and cultural stereotypes. Mel Chin connects to culture and commerce through an eclectic body of work that deals with everything from television's Melrose Place to his Detroit Revival Field project, which attempts to clean polluted plots of land.
Online
2015; 2001
6.

Stories [electronic resource]

The artists profiled in "Stories" tell tales-autobiographical, fictional, satirical, or fantastical-through architecture, literature, mythology, fairytales, and history. These artists provoke us to think about our own stories, the characters and caricatures, the morals and messages that define our real and imagined lives.
Online
2015; 2003
7.

Power [electronic resource]

From politics to mass media, the theme of power pervades daily life. The artists in this program - Cai Guo-Qiang, Laylah Ali, Krzysztof Wodiczko and Ida Applebroog - negotiate personal and cultural histories, re-imagine social space and challenge authority, oppression and control. The hour concludes with an original piece of video art by Teresa Hubbard/Alexander Birchler.
Online
2015; 2005
8.

Memory [electronic resource]

How does memory function? Who creates history? Whether commemorative, critical or irreverent, the artists in episode two - Susan Rothenberg, Mike Kelley, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Josiah McElheny - delve into the past, transforming it and remaking it in their work. The hour concludes with an original piece of video art by Teresa Hubbard/Alexander Birchler.
Online
2015; 2005
9.

Structures [electronic resource]

The artists in this episode - Mathew Ritchie, Fred Wilson, Richard Tuttle and Roni Horn - create systems, shift contexts and engage with perception, utilizing unconventional devices. The hour concludes with an original piece of video art by Teresa Hubbard/Alexander Birchler, a meditation on the idea of structures.
Online
2015; 2005
10.

Play [electronic resource]

Spontaneous, funny or subversive, play can take many forms. The artists in this episode - Jessica Stockholder, Ellen Gallagher, Arturo Herrera and Oliver Herring - improvise games, draw inspiration from dance and music, and employ color, pattern and movement to induce delight. The hour concludes with an original piece of video art by Teresa Hubbard/Alexander Birchler, a meditation on the idea of play.
Online
2015; 2005
11.

Boundaries [electronic resource]

The artists in this episode, David Altmejd, Tabaimo, Lynda Benglis, and Assume Vivid Astro Focus synthesize disparate aesthetic traditions, present taboo subject matter, discover innovative uses of media and explore the shape-shifting potential of the human figure.
Online
2015; 2012
12.

Identity [electronic resource]

This episode of "Art in the Twenty-First Century" examines how artists confront the questions "Who am I?" and "Who are we?" in a pluralistic, multicultural world. Kerry James Marshall's paintings and installations emerge from his deep ties to family, as well as his lifelong study of art history. Louise Bourgeois' work echoes some of today's most pressing social issues, including childhood trauma and the importance of memory. The densely psychological videos of Bruce Nauman examine the relationships among artist, viewer and society. And the work of Maya Lin, who achieved national fame when her now-famous design was selected for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, seeks to make a place for individuals within the landscape.
Online
2015; 2001
13.

Place [electronic resource]

With an introduction and video art by Laurie Anderson, this program considers the influence of place on four artists. Richard Serra's massive rolled-steel plates carve private moments out of public spaces. Sally Mann's photographs record the historical scars and romanticism latent in the landscape of the South. Barry McGee and Margaret Kilgallen's works blend elements of social realist murals and folk traditions with graffiti and other urban symbols. Pepon Osorio's sculptural assemblages and installations are intimately tied to location, evoking the survival of communities across borders.
Online
2015; 2001
14.

Balance [electronic resource]

In what ways can art convey equilibrium or disequilibrium? How do artists perceive and express reality? This "Art in the Twenty First Century" episode explores the gap between art and existence. Often described as a realist, landscape painter Rackstraw Downes views the act of seeing and the art of representation as culturally taught as heat tends to the perils and pleasures of perception. With minimal means, Robert Mangold translates the most basic of formal elements into paintings, prints, and drawings whose simplicity of form expresses complex ideas. Sarah Sze builds her installations and intricate sculptures from the minutiae of everyday life, imbuing mundane materials, marks, and processes with surprising significance. These artists demonstrate that the smallest change in a line, [...]
Online
2015; 2012
15.

Time [electronic resource]

The "Art in the Twenty-First Century" documentary "Time" examines how time is always present in our interaction with works of art, whether we sit to contemplate a painting, stroll past a sculpture, or watch a video piece for its entire duration or cycle. Some works of art are time-based in that the viewer must experience them through the passage of time, as with music, while others refer to time through links or references to art history, our collective human history, or the timelessness of nature. Featuring the work of contemporary artists Martin Puryear, Paul Pfeiffer, Vija Celmins, Merce Cunningham, and Tim Hawkinson. Filmed on location in China; Japan; New York, New York; San Antonio, Texas; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Los Angeles, California.
Online
2015; 2003
16.

Change [electronic resource]

The Art in the Twenty-First Century documentary Change examines how artists respond to a world in flux and act as agents of change. Ai Weiwei infuses his sculptures, photographs, and public artworks with personal poetry and political conviction in critical examinations of contemporary Chinese social and political issues. In sculptures of clay, wood, and metal, El Anatsui explores materials and formal elements that relate to his aesthetic and cultural environment, exemplifying change and revealing the eternal cycle of all things. Working between conceptual and documentary approaches to image making, Catherine Opie investigates the ways in which photographs both document and give voice to social phenomena in America today. Weiwei, Anatsui and Opie bear witness, through their work, to t [...]
Online
2015; 2012
17.

Paradox [electronic resource]

The episode of "Art in the Twenty-First Century" showcases five artists who address and respond to contradiction, conflict and ambiguity, and examine the relationship between mystery and meaning in art. Collaborators Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla believe that art can function as a catalyst for social change, and their works-including sculpture, video documentation and public installations-often solicit active participation and critical responses from their viewers. Robert Ryman's white canvasses emphasize the role that perception and context play in creating an aesthetic experience. Mark Bradford uses signage and advertisements scavenged from the street to create wall-sized collages that respond to the impromptu networks, such as underground economies, that emerge within a [...]
Online
2015; 2007
18.

History [electronic resource]

This "Art in the 21st Century" episode explores how artists mine the past to explore the present and use their own histories to examine the human condition. Painter and sculptor Glenn Ligon examines American identity through found sources-literature, Afrocentric coloring books, photographs-to reveal the ways in which the history of slavery, the civil rights movement, and sexual politics inform our understanding of contemporary society. A pioneer of performance as a visual art form, Marina Abramovic has used her body to test her physical, mental, and emotional limits in a quest for heightened consciousness, transcendence, and self-transformation. In black and white videos, Mary Reid Kelley presents her take on the clash between utopian ideologies and the realities of women's lives in [...]
Online
2015; 2012
19.

Spirituality

This episode addresses the continuing examination of the spiritual in art and life. James Turrell's works relate to and depart from his Quaker heritage, and through the idea of light as a metaphor for the spiritual. Ann Hamilton's installations, which often feature a solitary figure attending to a task, evoke not only a sense of mortality and quiet meditation, but also awe. The labor-intensive miniature paintings of Shahzia Sikander combine figurative and abstract elements from both the Muslim and Hindu faiths. And the books, sculptures, and installations of John Feodorov examine New Age assumptions about Native-American spirituality.
Online
2015; 2001