Ten years after Art21 took its first steps into the public arena, I am very proud that we are now launching another new and adventurous curatorial endeavor: New York Close Up. This documentary series—an ongoing, experimental, Web-based project—presents the work of young artists, all of whom are based here in our own New York City.
In 2001, Art21 had just completed production of the first season of our now acclaimed ongoing PBS series: Art in the Twenty-First Century. This year we will complete production of the sixth season, bringing the series total to 24 hours of programming that presents 99 nationally and internationally-based artists speaking directly to you—the viewer. In the past decade, Art21 has inaugurated other innovative projects, including our year long Art21 Educators Institute, which is now in its third year and already considered a groundbreaking national initiative.
With New York Close Up, Art21 breaks new ground again. I salute and thank not only all of the artists who have participated to date, but also the entire Art21 staff, especially Wesley Miller and Nick Ravich, who initiated and developed this exciting project and then followed through to curate, direct, film, and finally work with editor Mary Ann Toman to create this series.
For sure, this endeavor has been close up, with many friendships made and areas explored—in studios, workspaces, homes, and venues throughout the city, in its various regions and boroughs, at all hours of day and night. It is wonderful to be able to enlarge the Art21 family of artists and to present this new group of artists to an ever-growing local, national, and international audience.
Executive Director, Art21
ABOVE: Artist Rashid Johnson prepares for an interview with the Art21 film crew at The 1896 Studios & Stages. Bushwick, Brooklyn, 03.25.11. Production still from the series New York Close Up. © Art21, Inc. 2011.