Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016 4:10 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Location: College of the Atlantic - McCormick Lecture Hall, 105 Eden St. , Bar Harbor, Maine
For more information: coa.edu/livewhale/?events_edit&id=14297
Engaging audiences with contemporary visual art, inspiring creative thinking, and educating a new generation about artists is the focus of College of the Atlantic’s Human Ecology Forum with ART21 co-creator Susan Dowling.
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Now in its eighth season, Art in the Twenty-First Century (ART21) provides unparalleled access to the most innovative artists of our time, revealing how artists engage the culture around them and how art allows viewers to see the world in new ways. Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actress Claire Danes joins the Peabody Award-winning documentary television series as its broadcast host.
Dowling, a veteran television producer in the field of visual arts, will show clips from the new season and host a Q&A about the show. Dowling, a member of the Board of Directors of Art21 and a consultant to nonprofit arts organizations nationally, was originally with the WGBH New Television Workshop in Boston, which produced historically important work in the early years of video art. Subsequently, she was the co-director of the Contemporary Art Television Fund, then served as executive producer of New Television, a program that presented a wide range of experimental work by independent artists and filmmakers from around the world.
16 artists in four cities
The eighth season of ART21 debuts this month and engages three exceptional documentary directors: three-time Academy Award nominee Deborah Dickson; MacArthur Foundation Fellow and Peabody Award-winner Stanley Nelson; and Emmy Award-winner Pamela Mason Wagner with portraits of 16 innovative artists in four dynamic cities.
For the first time in the show’s history, the episodes are not organized around an artistic theme. Instead the 16-featured artists are grouped by their unique and revealing relationships to the places where they live: Chicago, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Vancouver. The artists share universal experiences through their life stories and creative works: resistance, pleasure, mortality, and the hope for a better tomorrow.
“Art is increasingly being defined and described in relationship to a sense of place. In our time of hyper-interconnectivity, where you choose to live and work matters like never before,” said ART21 Executive Director Tina Kukielski.
The new season showcases the geography, architecture, society, culture, and heritage of each location. Each episode highlights aspects of contemporary life that viewers everywhere experience. “Using the sounds, colors, and energy of the city as a landscape that artists respond to and interact with, the films expand beyond the studio to explore each artist’s engagement with their communities and the world around them,” said ART21 Executive Producer Eve Moros Ortega.
Season 8 reveals how artists today simultaneously draw inspiration from and influence their immediate surroundings, while engaging far-flung communities from all over the world—Amsterdam, Aspen, Basel, Bloomfield Hills, Bregenz, Brussels, Chiapas, Cuernavaca, Denver, Detroit, Istanbul, La Porte, Lisbon, London, Milan, New York City, Okanagan, Pasadena, Philadelphia, Puebla, San Francisco, Sinaloa, and Toronto. Through their work, artists participate in global conversations about the pressing issues of our time: from terrorism to environmental crises to the struggle for civil rights.
“ART21 brought on three visionary directors— Deborah Dickson, Stanley Nelson and Pamela Mason Wagner—enlivening the series with a fresh approach to photography and storytelling,” said Beth Hoppe, PBS Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming. “PBS is delighted to continue featuring ART21’s series as a treasured and unique highlight of our ongoing commitment to arts programming.”
A window into a hidden world
The featured visual artists are some of the most compelling creative thinkers of our time and they granted ART21 filmmakers intimate access to their lives. The documentary series provides a window into contemporary art that is ordinarily hidden from public view. ART21 presents artists in their private homes and studios and goes behind-the-scenes to reveal how artworks and exhibitions are created. Viewers meet artists’ family members, friends, collaborators, and admirers who share their own insight into the featured art and its creation. Season 8 visits major exhibitions of the past two years, showing artworks in vivid color and detail, as well as presenting rare archival footage and documents. Artists narrate their own stories and invest the documentaries with humor, pathos, and surprising insights.
In the past seven seasons, “Art in the Twenty-First Century” has profiled over 100 artists. ART21’s ongoing series is a celebration of the diversity of art-making today, featuring artists from different backgrounds—age, gender, ethnicity, orientation, education, nationality—who make work in countless media and styles. In Season 8, photography is explored through abstract still lifes and pictorial narratives; sculpture through hand-crafted and found objects; painting through murals, figuration, and cartoons; performance through staged plays, improvisational dance, and group actions; video through immersive installations, literary adaptations, and films that blend fact with fiction. “These artists pose questions through their work in new and exhilarating ways, provoking social change as much as instigating aesthetic revolutions,” said ART21 Curator Wesley Miller.
The Human Ecology Forum is a weekly speaker series based on the work of the academic community, which also draws on artists, poets, and political and religious leaders from around the world. Members of the public are invited to attend.
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