The popular PBS series Art:21 Art in the Twenty-First Century returns this fall for its seventh season, starting October 24. The Peabody Award-winning show takes viewers into the studios and creative minds of prominent working artists. The episodes for this upcoming season are organized around themes of “Investigation,” “Secrets,” “Legacy,” and “Fiction,” which provide a framework for viewers to consider different aspects of artistic interpretation.
Kicking off the season with “Investigation,” viewers will be introduced to artists who experiment with materials and ideas. Leonardo Drew, for example, uses weathered and altered materials, like bits of burned wood, rubber, and metal, to create massive, texturally complex installations and sculptures. Also included in “Investigation” is Thomas Hirschhorn, who is seen working on his Gramsci Monument in a New York City housing project, and Mexican artist Graciela Iturbide, whose evocative photographs capture day-to-day life in her native country.
“Secrets,” as the title suggests, explores the specific secrets and hidden details that are inherent to artists’ work. Viewers will see the studios of L.A.-based Elliott Hundley, who creates enigmatic, large-scale, mixed-media assemblages informed by his Southern heritage; Arlene Schechet, who is known for her expressive, misshapen ceramic sculpture installations; and Trevor Paglen, who takes government surveillance as his subject.
Notions of tradition are explored in “Legacy.” The socially and politically engaged art of Cuban-American Tania Bruguera, whose Immigrant Movement International Project takes the form of a community center in Queens, New York. Also included is Abraham Cruzvillegas, who is heavily informed by the improvisational lifestyle that he encountered while growing up in Mexico City, and Wolfgang Laib, known for his delicate, ephemeral pollen installation.
The season will conclude with “Fiction,” which dives into the work of artists concerned with concepts surrounding the formation of meaning. Featured is German artist Katharina Grosse, who creates massive, exuberantly painted sculptural installations that take whole rooms as their canvas. Omer Fast obscures the line between the real and the imaginary in works composed from snippets of digital media, and multimedia performance artist Joan Jonas disrupts common theatrical tropes to investigate, as well as destabilize, culture’s ritualized gestures.
ART21 will air on four consecutive Fridays beginning October 24 at 10 PM ET. Check local listings.