August 21 – Theme: Art: 21, Art in the 21st Century. Spirituality
The experience of viewing art moves from static to dynamic as this PBS series takes its audience into the studios of contemporary American artists to witness their processes, hear their thoughts and see their art outside a gallery setting. With each episode focused on a single theme, viewers are treated to everything from sculptor Jeff Koons on the topic of fantasy to photographer Cindy Sherman on transformation. 54 minutes. (This screening will take place at the Rehoboth Art League.)
September 18 – Theme: Art: 21, Art in the 21st Century. “Identity”.
The show opens with a whimsical collaboration between noted photographer and artist William Wegman and actor, playwright, and comedian Steve Martin. In this opening segment, Martin (or is it just a mannequin that looks like him?) questions the fundamental nature of identity amidst playful diversions which include card tricks, the sound of a lawnmower in the distance, ringing doorbells, and Wegman's agile Weimaraner dogs. The zany opening was created by Wegman on a sound stage and plays with varying degrees of reality and theatrical illusion. At one point, Steve Martin is rendered motionless when it's revealed that throughout the segment his hands have belonged to someone else—a puppeteer.
Bruce Nauman transforms everyday activities, speech, and objects into works that are both familiar and alien. "I needed a different way to approach the idea of being an artist," says Nauman. "I always thought that you can make something that appears to be functional, but when you try to and use it, you can't figure out what its function might be. And that's in the end what the function is, for you to figure out what to do with it." Filmed at Nauman's ranch and studio outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico, the segment features several of Nauman's recent explorations into video, text, and self-portraiture—materials and themes the artist has engaged for over thirty years.
From paintings and videos to his comic strip featuring African sculptures, Kerry James Marshall's work unites influences from Renaissance painting and African-American traditions to question the authority of history and "reclaim the image of blackness." "Either I'm working with a set of conventions that have already been established," he says, "or I'm working against a set of conventions that have already been established." This segment is filmed in Chicago, where the artist lives, teaches and works. We gain glimpses into the domestic interiors of Marshall's immediate family—interiors which find their way into the artist's paintings, prints, and most recent sculptural and video installations.
Maya Lin, who at twenty-one became one of America's most recognized artists with her winning design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, is filmed transforming an urban park in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A work that is part art and part architecture, the park features a skating rink which Lin has outfitted with sophisticated fiber optic technology to produce an image of the starry night sky onto the surface of the ice. "Everything I've done in life is about polarities, about two sides balancing out," says the artist. Carving layers of circles out of the pages of an atlas in order to create topographic islands and canyons, both Lin's studio and outdoor projects mark an identification with the land.
The final segment in this hour focuses on Louise Bourgeois. Active since the early 1940s, Bourgeois has consistently plumbed her own biography for subject matter and inspiration. Working with delicate stone sculptures in public spaces and plaster casts of hands, Bourgeois explores memory, emotion, and strength through works that reach viewers on a visceral level. "A work of art doesn't have to be explained," she says. "If you do not have any feeling about this, I cannot explain it to you. If this doesn't touch you, I have failed." Bourgeois' work challenges viewers to make connections between their own lives and the lives staged in the artist's installations, drawings, and public sculptures.
October 16 – Theme: Art: 21, Art in the 21st Century. “Consumption”
Michael Ray Charles is filmed on location at his home and studio in Austin, Texas. Through his studies of advertising, the minstrel tradition, and blackface, Charles seeks to deconstruct and subvert images of blackness through painting. "I've been called a sellout. People question my blackness. A lot of people accuse me of perpetuating a stereotype," he says. "I think there's a fine line between perpetuating something and questioning something. And I like to get as close to it as possible." Pointing out items from his collection of memorabilia, Charles traces the transformation of stereotypes in his work. The segment concludes at an exhibition of Charles' work in New York City.
"A system that has an internal object, Freudian narratives—consumer and producer, violence, sexually driven, NFL films—these are the things I think about," says Matthew Barney. His "CREMASTER" series of films twist narrative flow, challenge genres, and interrogate art as they explore the ways "that violence is sublimated into form." This segment follows Barney and his crew on the set of "CREMASTER 3" at the Saratoga race track and at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. At Saratoga, Barney transforms a group of horses into racing corpses; at the Guggenheim, the artist transforms the Museum into a set for an obstacle course/video game.
From her experimental home and clothing projects to her artificial "Pocket Property" island off the coast of Denmark, Andrea Zittel is an artist who truly "lives" art. "We're obsessed with perfection, we're obsessed with innovation and moving forwards. But what we really want is the hope of some sort of a new and improved or better tomorrow." Filmed in Zittel's Brooklyn home and studio, which serves as her artful business "A-Z Administrative Services," the artist takes the viewer on a tour of her specially designed bathroom, furniture, and wardrobe—a whimsical blend of the artist's Southern California roots and 20th Century Modernist design philosophy.
An interactive video game based on rug patterns of nomadic peoples and a garden with "hyperaccumulator" plants that clean up contaminated land are just two of Mel Chin's unique collaborative ventures, incorporating botany, ecology, and even alchemy. "Making art, I think, is not about one track, one method," he says. "The diversity of mediums and techniques is minor. But the diversity of ideas and how they survive and the methods that are transmitted is very important." The segment follows Chin in Detroit as he scouts locations for his latest project that converts arsoned houses into worm farms that benefit the local economy. Fractured by television static, Chin's segment resembles a subversive broadcast.
No film in November due to Thanksgiving.
December 18 - Theme: Art: 21, Art in the 21st Century. “Spirituality”
How does contemporary art address the idea of spirituality? How do artists working today reveal and question commonly held assumptions about faith, belief, meditation, and religious symbols? The "Art in the Twenty-First Century" documentary “Spirituality” explores these questions through the work of the artists Beryl Korot, Ann Hamilton, John Feodorov, Shahzia Sikander, and James Turrell.
January 15, 2014 - Theme: Art: 21, Art in the 21st Century. “Humor”
How do artists use irony, goofiness, satire, and sarcasm in their work? Can an artwork be funny and critical at the same time? Do contemporary artists always take themselves seriously? The "Art in the Twenty-First Century" documentary “Humor” explores these questions through the work of Charles Atlas, Eleanor Antin, Raymond Pettibon, Elizabeth Murray, and Walton Ford.
February 19, 2014 - Theme: Art: 21, Art in the 21st Century. “Loss and Desire”
How do contemporary artworks embody emotion? How do artists express longing, love, and human experience in their work? The "Art in the Twenty-First Century" documentary “Loss & Desire” explores these questions through the work of Charles Atlas, Collier Schorr, Gabriel Orozco, and Janine Antoni.
March 19, 2014 - Theme: Art: 21, Art in the 21st Century. “Time” How do artists evoke and transform time in their work? Can a work of contemporary art be timeless? How does contemporary art relate to art of the ancient past, to nature, and to the rhythms of the life? The "Art in the Twenty-First Century" documentary “Time” explores these questions through the work of Charles Atlas, Martin Puryear, Paul Pfeiffer, Vija Celmins, and Tim Hawkinson.
April 16, 2014 - Theme: Art: 21, Art in the 21st Century. “Power”
From politics to mass media, the theme of power pervades daily life and is reflected in the ideas and concerns of contemporary artists. The "Art in the Twenty-First Century" documentary “Power” explores the work of the artists Cai Guo-Qiang, Laylah Ali, Krzysztof Wodiczko, and Ida Applebroog, and concludes with an original video artwork by Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler.
May 21, 2014 - Theme: Art: 21, Art in the 21st Century. “Memory” (Last Art in the Evening until Fall 2014)
How does memory function? What is history? How do contemporary artists frame the past in their work? The "Art in the Twenty-First Century" documentary “Memory” explores these questions through the work of the artists Susan Rothenberg, Mike Kelley, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Josiah McElheny, and concludes with an original video artwork by Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler.