Art21's "New York Close Up" Series Introduces 8 New Artists; Extends Multi-Year Film Collaboration with All Artists

Art21's "New York Close Up" Series Introduces 8 New Artists
Extends Multi-Year Film Collaboration with All Artists
Celebrates First Anniversary with Webby Award Nomination

DOWNLOAD: Press release PDF; Press images
VISIT: Series website
WATCH: Series Trailer, Year 2 (2012)

May 29, 2012 – for immediate release:

New York, NY — Art21, the non-profit producer of the Peabody Award-winning series Art in the Twenty-First Century, announced today the addition of eight new featured artists to its Webby-nominated online documentary series New York Close Up, expanding the project's roster to a total of eighteen artists in the first decade of their careers, living and working in New York City. In addition, Art21 is extending its collaboration with all of the artists in this multi-year film web series, committing to telling multiple stories with each artist into 2013. New artists and films premiere Friday, June 1st.

New York Close Up is a unique online film project, called "art reality done right" by Artlog and "a fascinating scrapbook for the diversity of practice across the city" by The Art Newspaper. Conceived as an ongoing collaboration with the featured artists, the series offers an intimate view of the ongoing challenges, opportunities, and creative processes of emerging artists, chronicled over time to bear witness to the evolution of their work at a critical moment in their artistic formation. Launched in 2011, New York Close Up is designed to grow iteratively over time, revealing interconnections and crosscurrents among a new generation of contemporary visual artists coming of age in New York City. "New York Close Up allows Art21 a new way of documenting the artists of our time, by working in our own backyard" says Art21 Managing Director Eve Moros Ortega. "Since Art21 is based in New York, as are the artists in this series, we have many more opportunities to film with them, often very spontaneously, allowing us rich possibilities for creative storytelling."

The eight artists joining the project broaden the scope of stories about cultural production in New York City. Mirroring the multiculturalism of the city, new artists include the series' first international/foreign-born artists: Diana Al-Hadid (Syria), Alejandro Almanza Pereda (Mexico), Mika Rottenberg (Argentina & Israel), and Erin Shirreff (Canada); as well as the series' first native New Yorker: Liz Magic Laser. The new artists also bring fresh perspectives to media, genres, and process—such as different takes on the tradition of painting by Josephine Halvorson and Eddie Martinez—and contemporary art's integration into the fabric of the city—such as in public artworks by David Brooks.

Stories woven into the films with these eight artists include the drama of completing major commissions from Performa, Public Art Fund, MASSMoCA, and Art Production Fund; artists' first performances and one-person exhibitions; art education as a day job from the perspectives of being a teacher or MFA student; the business of art via sales, real estate, and studio assistants; political art and actual protests; as well as the fluid concept of New York as home, explored through artists both moving to and leaving the city. "New York is still very much a place of extremes, and the artists in this series experience the highs and lows on a daily basis," says series co-creator and Art21 Director of Production Nick Ravich. "From documenting career-defining moments to the mundane, our aim with New York Close Up is to create a vivid and authentic portrayal of what it's like to live and make art here. The irony is: sometimes it means living the dream while couch-surfing for five months." Series co-creator and Art21 Associate Curator Wesley Miller adds: "Part of what makes New York Close Up so exciting for us is that we take the time to work with each artist individually to realize the films. We're challenged by them to develop creative approaches to presenting their work, ideas, and life. Our aim is to experiment and collaborate—that's why each film takes such a different approach to the genre of documentary, and why we make multiple films with each artist."

Upcoming New York Close Up premiere schedule:

June 1st: Mika Rottenberg
June 15th: Eddie Martinez
June 29th: Liz Magic Laser
July 13th: David Brooks
July 27th: Diana Al-Hadid
August 10th: Josephine Halvorson
August 24th: Alejandro Almanza Pereda
September 7th: Erin Shirreff

Beginning Fall 2012, New York Close Up will release additional new films on all of the featured artists, including the ten rising stars in the project's starting roster: Lucas Blalock, Martha Colburn, Keltie Ferris, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Tommy Hartung, Rashid Johnson, Kalup Linzy, Shana Moulton, Mariah Robertson, and Mika Tajima. To date, the series has released twenty-one five to ten minute films crafted from over 200 hours of original, high-definition documentary footage.

"Nominees like Art21 are setting the standard for innovation and creativity on the Internet," says David-Michel Davies, Executive Director of The Webby Awards. In its first year, New York Close Up was nominated in the category of Best Documentary Series for the 16th Annual Webby Awards—hailed as the "Internet's highest honor" by The New York Times. The series has screened at 2011 NewFest, (NYC), 92nd Street Y (NYC), Three Rivers Film Festival (Pittsburgh), and Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), among others. To date, the online series has reached over 100,000 viewers and is watched by over 10,000 viewers per month.

On June 18th, from 6:00–8:30 p.m., Art21, in partnership with The Armory Show, will present an Outdoor Summer Film Fest at Big Screen Plaza on 6th Avenue between 29th and 30th Street. A full retrospective of New York Close Up films, along with premieres of new films, will screen on a 30 x 16 foot HD-format LED screen, nestled within a 10,000 square foot outdoor venue complete with wood boardwalk, bistro tables, tiki bar, and fish/burger shacks.

New York Close Up is supported, in part, by: the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; Toby Devan Lewis, the Dedalus Foundation; and the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc. Additional support provided by The 1896 Studios & Stages, and by individual contributors.

About New York Close Up

New York Close Up is Art21's documentary film series devoted to artists in the first decade of their professional career, living and working in New York City. This innovative, Webby-nominated project is a collaboration between Art21 and local artists to imagine new ways of telling stories about their creative process, political and aesthetic philosophies, personal backgrounds, and community perspectives. Presented online as a suite of interdependent and experimental short films published over several years, this original Web series chronicles today's artists as their works, ideas, and lives evolve over time. Motivated by the experiences, relationships, and opportunities afforded to artists at the start of their careers, the series provides a behind-the-scenes guidebook for viewers to navigate the complex and emerging cultural geography of New York City.

About Art21

Art21 is a non-profit art organization which provides broad-based audiences access to contemporary art and artists by documenting the artists of our time for television and the Internet, providing companion educational materials, and teaching educators. In the past decade, Art21 has used the power of digital media to introduce millions of people of all ages worldwide to contemporary art and artists, creating a new paradigm for teaching and learning about the creative process. All of Art21's materials, including full episodes of Art in the Twenty-First Century, New York Close Up, exclusive Web videos, and education resources, are made available for free online at

About The Armory Show

The Armory Show, a leading international contemporary and modern art fair takes place every March on Piers 92 & 94 in Manhattan. The fair has become an international institution, combining a selection of the world's leading galleries with an exceptional program of arts events and exhibitions during the celebrated Armory Arts Week. The fifteenth edition of The Armory Show will take place March 7–10, 2013.


Press Contact:
Eve Moros Ortega
212-741-7133 x22
eve [AT]