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Art: 21 - Art in the Twenty-First Century, Season Six

4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Season 6 of the Peabody Award-winning series "Art in the Twenty-First Century includes featured artists Marina Abramovic, Ai Weiwei, David Altmejd, El Anatsui, assume vivid astro focus, Lynda Benglis, Rackstraw Downes, Glenn Ligon, Robert Mangold, Catherine Opie, Mary Reid Kelley, Sarah Sze, and Tabaimo.

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The sixth season of PBS's Peabody-winning series showcases 13 visual artists, including internationally renowned talents Marina Abramović and Ai Weiwei, both of whom have inspired full-length documentaries (and have graced New York City with landmark sculptures and installations). Arranged by theme, the four episodes--change, boundaries, history, and balance--allow subjects to share thoughts about their work while setting up shows and working on a variety of projects. In "Change," Los Angeles photographer Catherine Opie takes portraits of her working-class neighbors and completes a corporate commission with personal significance, Nigerian-based multimedia artist El Anatsui talks about his roots in Ghana and creates undulating sheets of metal from bottle caps, and Chinese sculptor Ai speaks about his striking wood and metal constructions, but probation forbids him from discussing his 2011 arrest on political grounds, so his assistants fill in some of the details. In "History," Yugoslavia-born conceptual artist Abramović credits her stoic communist parents for her "physical endurance and extreme willpower." Indeed, she doesn't appear to move once during the performance she contributes. Other subjects include Japanese animator Tabaimo, British-born realist painter Rackstraw Downes, and American filmmaker Mary Reid Kelley, who incorporates family members into her playful pieces. Simply watching these artists work with neon, wire, plaster, and other media provides the primary characteristic of a program that eschews traditional narration. Art in the Twenty-First Century may be short on biographical detail, but the insights into the creative process represent a significant compensating factor. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Marina Abramovic, Ai Weiwei, David Altmejd, El Anatsui, Lynda Benglis
  • Directors: .
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: May 1, 2012
  • Run Time: 240 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0077PBPNM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,899 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I am a college professor for 18 years that teaches a class called "Contemporary Art." I have found the art:21 series a wealth of information to share with my students about what is going on in the world of art in the 21st century. The artists chosen for series six is for the most part the typical diverse panoply of artists getting time in the market now, which was fine.

What I will gripe about is the producer and editor's choice in how they present each artist. It seems they themselves were trying to be "artistic" rather than choosing to educate the public about contemporary art. We see Ai Weiwei pieces on the screen with no explanation as to what they are about or what he did, We are given no history of Mary Reid Kelly and her various projects and only follow one, and I understand the motivation to have Marina Abramovic gaze at us for over twenty minutes, but it isn't helpful when I'm trying to educate students about her projects and the significance of her work.

My fear is that the producers of art:21 season 6 have perpetrated the myth of "Oh those artists, they're just so opaque and odd," rather than to use this series as a venue to educate and include a wider audience into what is going on in the art world.
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Each time another dvd from this series comes out I'm there. It's interesting to have the present day artist talk about their work process and to have incite into what makes them work and grow.
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I come to view this excellent artist documentary series as a reference resource as much as entertainment. Can't wait for season 7!
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By charles on November 27, 2012
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Enjoyed it.. Very good reflective views of artists lives and works. The whole Art 21 DVD series is worth the time and money.
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I Love this series, but there are SOOO many artists out there doing so many unique things and ideas. It is a pity so few very original ones are celebrated. I fear Art is going the way of Pop music.

I am diverging from the title of my review.

A lot of the words the artist use are the same. The Ideas for each artist are different, but the way each artist describes: so many of them use the same cliche explanations. 'the materials take on a life of there own' 'I am just a guide' 'I don't think about the viewer.'

Do not get me wrong.. there is goodness in what a lot of them say, and some of them, like Ai WeiWei, are just amazing.

2 cents
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Background: I own all the seasons and I think I have seen all of the artists except for a few (some things I just won't watch). I use these videos to help High School students see Art that is being made now and get a feel of the current "Art World" Philosophy.

Overall, I thought it was weak as far as the series goes. I have included a little information that may help explain my rating.

Change: Fairly strong and showcases Artist with deep Social cultural impact. Artists: Catherine Opie (personal), El Anatsui, Ai Weiwei

Boundaries: varied for me with mainly a thumbs down... Tabaimo (Good), Assume Vivid Astro Focus (interesting art, ok segment), David Altmejd (boring with 50/50 enjoyment of Art), Lynda Benglis (wanted to appreciate it, but couldn't)

History: completely hit an miss, mostly miss: Glenn Ligon (good art, extremely boring segment), Mary Reid Kelley (entertaining and great), Marina Abramović (may be good Art, but Bad, Bad, Bad Art 21 segment, there is a reason it was place at the end of the episode. If it was at the bringing you may turn it off)

Balance: Slow but thoughtful: Rackstraw Downes (great, one if not the only realistic painter shown in series) Robert Mangold (repetitive art but informative), Sarah Sze (nice public work, average)

Hopefully that explains why I think it was average for the series: Art was ok, the segments were just not interesting. I will still use it, but very little was enjoyable for me.
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My only complaint about Art 21 is that I wish the individual segments were longer for the artists I really like! When Art 21 brings us into artists studio and lets us see them in the process of making their work, this is invaluable to me, as an artist myself. I think that the series is a treat for artists and makes art more understandable to non-artists because it lets people get an inkling as to how artists think about the work they make and how much care goes into it. Art is misunderstood by so many and in this era of the erroneous belief that "everyone is an artist" we get to see that not everyone can or will devote the continued thought and effort required to make art. PBS should be praised (and emulated) for undertaking this series. It is well worth watching!
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Really enjoy this series and if you have any interest in Art or Contemporary Society you should watch it. Each episode show the artists hands on at work. Every artist is given the opportunity to tell their story and philosophy, so you can see the work without a critics interpretation. You can also see how hard the artists work to bring their vision into reality. This is a great series and I am glad there are so many episodes to watch. You will learn a lot.
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