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 project provides an intimate look at the next wave of artists—artists close up.
Structured as an open-ended cinematic collaboration, Art21 (a nonprofit based in New York) is partnering with 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.
With artists serving as informal guides, the series captures the realities of living and working in the city, featuring: homes and studios, live performances, exhibitions, residencies, day jobs, nightlife, and social scenes. Artworks by these artists advance fresh approaches to disciplines such as painting, sculpture, photography, performance, film, and video, while often blurring boundaries between art, dance, movies, music, and design. Films explore themes of collaboration, improvisation, impermanence, personal autobiography, history, and political responsibility. Stories are told through a variety of cinematic genres and styles including day-in-the-life, biopic, concert film, and investigation.
New York Close Up captures rarely documented aspects of the creative process and chronicles the experience of being a young artist in New York City. As the conversation unfolds, each year the series will add eight to twelve New York City-based artists to the project’s roster. Over time, the featured artists and their extended network of friends, family, fellow artists and performers, curators, and art dealers will mirror the dynamic, multicultural qualities that make New York City a creative engine and international destination. At its core, the series is intended as a snapshot of a discrete time and place from the unique perspective of a generation of artists.
ABOVE: Artist Mariah Robertson and cinematographer Rafael Moreno Salazar in her darkroom. Greenpoint, Brooklyn, 2.15.11. Production still from the series New York Close Up. © Art21, Inc. 2011.