"Often when you're in the process of realizing an image, it's going somewhere else. If that tangent starts going off in a place that feels more exciting, that's what I go with."
Over the past decade, Art21 has established itself as the preeminent chronicler of contemporary art and artists through its Peabody Award-winning biennial television series, "Art in the Twenty-First Century." The nonprofit organization has used the power of digital media to introduce millions of people of all ages to contemporary art and artists and has created a new paradigm for teaching and learning about the creative process.
In addition to its PBS series, Art21 produces short-format documentary series, viewable on multiple online platforms. The "Exclusive" series highlights the artists previously featured in the PBS series. Art21’s first feature film, titled "William Kentridge: Anything Is Possible," premiered in national primetime on PBS in October 2010. This one-hour film has been broadcast internationally and can also be viewed online.
Art21 serves educators and their students by providing free materials and programs devoted to the exploration of contemporary art and artists, including the widely distributed Educators Guides. It also recently launched Art21 Educators, a yearlong professional development initiative designed to cultivate and support K–12 educators interested in bringing contemporary art, artists, and ideas into their classrooms.
Art21 also presents a wide range of writing on contemporary art. Drawing connections between Art21-featured artists and the larger context in which they thrive, the "Art21 Blog" chronicles this landscape, post-by-post—from indexing daily events and activities to posing broader, meditative questions about the place of art in our world. The "Ideas" section features new writing on contemporary art as it intersects with today’s most relevant issues and concerns. Art21’s companion books present the featured artists through excerpts of interviews juxtaposed with rich, full-color illustrations of their work. The books also include introductory essays by Art21 Executive Producer and Curator, Susan Sollins, as well as artist biographies and production stills from the series.
Art21 maintains an extensive archive of all of the films and educational materials it produces. The core of the Art21 Archive is nearly one thousand hours of original documentary footage amassed during the production of Art21’s films. Art21 continues to film with previously featured artists, documenting art installations, exhibitions, and performances at galleries and museums worldwide. The Archive also includes film documentation of Art21’s education and public programs, including hundreds of hours of video by Art21 Educators participants. The filmed material in the Art21 Archive is supplemented with transcribed interviews, research materials, educational publications, Web pages, books, and digital and analog artwork reproductions.