What We Did Last Summer


Now that school’s started and the weather’s getting brisk, we just wanted to do a quick check in to let you know that 1) yes, we’re still very much here, and 2) yes, we had a very productive Summer. Thanks for asking. Besides preparing the latest season of Art in the Twenty-First Century for delivery to PBS, fellow New York Close Up creator and producer Wesley Miller and I got in some quality shoot time at the beach.  Me in Rockaway, Queens. See the above production still from our upcoming film on artist Caroline Woolard and her amphora project Carried on Both Sides.  And Wes in slightly more exotic Bali, shooting with artist Louise Despont in her other side of the world studio. We’ve been working with both artists on these stories since the beginning of the year and hope to bring it all home, literally and figuratively, in the coming months. So expect Louise’s film and her exquisite drawing practice by the end of the year. And expect Caroline, and some super slo mo glass blowing footage, by early next year.

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Coming to a Bar Near You


Artist Marela Zacarias (center) paints her sculpture Red Meander in her Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn studio. Production still from New York Close Up. © Art21, Inc. 2014.

Quick note to our fellow New Yorkers.  Our film – Marela Zacarias Goes Big & Goes Home – is going to be screening at 8PM this Friday October 23 at the lovely and spacious The Bahche Bar & Grill in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn.  It’s part of a regular screening series called NY Short Film Fridays.  Featured artist Marela, myself, the film’s directors – Wesley Miller, Rafael Salazar, & Ava Wiland (AKA RAVA Fims) – and assorted New York Close Up friends and crew should all be in attendance.  And best of all there’s no admission and you can drink and eat during the screening!  Hope to see you there.

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Coming to a Theater Near You


Artist Bryan Zanisnik performs at Pace University’s Peter Fingesten Gallery (02.06.14). Production still from New York Close Up. © Art21, Inc. 2014.

If you’re in the mood for checking out some “New York Close Up” films on the big screen, or seeing some stand out documentary shorts in general, this Fall is a excellent time do so.  We’ve got a slew of festival screenings starting this Saturday:

Bryan Zanisnik Keeps It in the Family at the Coney Island Film Festival on Saturday, September 19 at 5PM at the Coney Island Museum, Brooklyn.  It’s part of Shorts Program #5.

Bryan Zanisnik Keeps It in the Family at the Raindance Web Fest on Saturday, September 26 at Noon at VUE Picadilly, London.  Part of the Life Stories web series screening program.

Abigail DeVille’s Harlem Stories at the Bushwick Film Festival on Sunday, October 4 at 2PM at the Anthology Film Archives, Manhattan.  Part of the Living Legends shorts program.

Jamian Juliano-Villani’s Painting Compulsion at the Festival Internacional Filmes Sobre Arte on Friday, October 2 at 8:45PM at the Galeria Ze Dos Bois (ZDB) in Lisbon, Portugal.

Daniel Gordon Gets Physical at the NYC Independent Film Festival on Sunday, October 18 at 1:15PM at the Producers Club Theaters, Manhattan.  Screened with CUTBACK, a graffiti doc.

Big props to Rafael Salazar & Ava Wiland — the producer/director/editor team at RAVA Films  — who were instrumental in the production of many of the above films.  And in coming weeks I’ll confirm even more festival screenings.

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Caroline Woolard Steps Up to the Mic


Artist Caroline Woolard speaking at the inaugural meeting of the New York City Real Estate Investment Cooperative (Middle Collegiate Church, East Village, 4.28.15). Production still from the series, ART21 New York Close Up. Cinematography by Rafael Salazar. © ART21, Inc. 2015.

Today’s New York Close Up premiere—our first film with artist Caroline Woolard—is a little different. And that has everything to do with Caroline. Her work involving affordable space in New York City gave us an opportunity to explore issues that we have been hoping to tackle since the inception of the New York Close Up series. Her passion and humor and honesty around these issues help set the tone for a film that is definitely out of our documentary comfort zone.

So, in the spirit of a film that’s trying a lot of very non-ART21 things, we wanted to release the film a little differently with a brief statement from Caroline herself:

Why don’t more artists talk about the connection between art and real estate in their life and work? This is a video about how I’ve been able to survive in New York City since 2002, and why I am finally waking up to the power of organizing to stay put. As an artist living and working in New York City, I feel that I cannot stand aside and watch as developers and landlords price out each small business, community group, and cultural organization that makes our city inclusive, safe, and vibrant. I hope this video inspires the art students, arts graduates, and working artists who are not already involved in place-based organizing to get involved in local organizing for development without displacement. If you are based in New York City, I hope you will look into the Real Estate Investment Cooperative (NYCREIC) and its organizational stewards: 596 Acres, Spaceworks, Fourth Arts Block, #BlackLandMatters, and Brooklyn Law School’s Center for Urban Business and Entrepreneurship. NYCREIC exists to secure permanently affordable space for civic, cultural, and cooperative use. By leveraging the political power and patient investments of members, we aim to stabilize neighborhoods and build a resilient city.

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Watch “New York Close Up” in Tehran . . . 37 Times!


We’re happy and completely flattered to announce that the Rybon Art Center, in collaboration with the Cinematheque of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, is presenting a series of “New York Close Up” screenings. It’s happening July 13 through 16, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the Cinematheque. They’re gonna show 37 episodes! Translated into Persian! And on July 14 at 6 p.m, filmmakers Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, Mohamad Reza Jahanpanah and Amir Hossein Sanaei will have a post-screening discussion about their own experiences making documentaries about visual artists. It’s part of ART21’s “Access” series, an on-going international initiative where ART21 collaborates with local partners to screen ART21 programming across the world. So if you happen to be in the area, please check it out.

ADDITION: Turns out there’s going to be a couple of more talks in conjunction with the screenings. Pouriya Jahanshad and Hamed Jaberha discussing “Contemporary Art, Personal Narratives and The Political” on July 15. And Hamed again with Mohamad Parvizi discussing ”The Aesthetic of Contemporary Art” on July 16.

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