ART21 With Claire Danes On PBS: Freshly Bold And Accessible

ART21’s award-winning television series Art In The Twenty-First Century has returned to PBS for an eighth season. Hosted by actress Claire Danes, the new show emphasizes the work of 16 remarkable artists from Chicago, Mexico City, Los Angeles and Vancouver. This time around, ART21, which describes itself as the “go-to place to learn first-hand from the artists of our time,” has surely gone beyond its own admirable pledge. Along with Danes and PBS, ART21 has served up a collection of contemporary art and artists that viewers will find both relatable and absorbing. But there is a lot more to this outstanding series.

Talk about relevancy. One particular artist from Art In The Twenty-First Century, Pedro Reyes, has tapped a wider global ethos by converting firearms into playable musical instruments. That’s right. With his projects Imagine and Disarm, Reyes has changed the wreckages of automatic weapons and heavier artillery into flutes, keyboards and a bevy of other original pieces that are capable of producing music, some via computer. According to ART21, Reyes “designs ongoing projects that propose playful solutions to social problems.” He is not alone.

The show reveals how performance artist Nick Cave builds “Soundsuits,” based on the events of the Rodney King beating, while painter Tala Madani tackles gender and racial stereotypes and Minerva Cuevas reacts to important social issues through sculptural installations. Hold on, because the list doesn’t end there. Other notables include The New Yorker magazine cover artist Chris Ware, Theaster Gates, Barbara Kasten, Natalia Almada, Damián Ortega, Ed Arceneaux, Liz Larner, Diana Thater, Stan Douglas, Brian Jungen, Liz Magor and Jeff Wall. What’s more, works from each of the artists are on view in a museum exhibition titled On Space and Place: Contemporary Art from Chicago, Los Angeles, Mexico City and Vancouver, at Chicago’s DePaul Art Museum, Sept. 15 through Dec. 18, 2016.

Art In The Twenty-First Century has never had a celebrity host before. Check out Claire Danes, Art21 and PBS. As far as creativity goes, there is something for everyone.

Photos: Claire Danes and photo of poster for Art In The Twenty-First Century – Christos Katsiaouni, Courtesy of ART21; Nick Cave “Soundsuit” 2008 © Nick Cave, photo: James Prinz Photography, Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

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