When art cracks through the surface of TV, it's usually not art itself. Look more closely and the stories and pictures are actually about wealth, glamor, brattiness, deception. Art TV is usually hate TV. Go Trumperica!
Art21's Art in the Twenty-First Century is the antidote to that. It's just beautiful, smart footage of art and artists, no two of whom are alike even in their conceptions of what art is (not that any of them care to waste time fighting with anyone else about it).
"I'm doing my own assignments," Liz Magor says in this season. "That's my definition of art, actually."
Artists like Brian Jungen talk about how they cut up Nike Air Jordans, about how coming out of the closet used to be an issue but isn't after all these years, about being shy, about hunting, about how his parents' death when he was 7 started him as an artist.
I watched the screener that included Magor and Jungen from this season of Art in the Twenty-First Century, and it reminded me why I love this show. Artists are complicated, and the show captures that without getting in the way.
They've divided this season, for the first time, into four cities: Vancouver, B.C. (where Jungen and Magor are joined by Stan Douglas and Jeff Wall), Mexico City (Natalia Almada, Minerva Cuevas, Damián Ortega, Pedro Reyes), LA (Ed Arceneaux, Liz Larner, Tala Madani, Diana Thater), and Chicago (Nick Cave, Theaster Gates, Barbara Kasten, Chris Ware). All of those are artists I want to spend time with.
The first episode airs September 16 (Chicago and Mexico City), and the next September 23 (LA and Vancouver). From here, check local listings.