Art21’s "New York Close Up" Series Introduces Seven New Artists

Art21’s "New York Close Up" Series Introduces Seven New Artists
New Artists & Films Premiere June 21–September 2013

DOWNLOAD: Press release PDF; Press images
VISIT: Series website
WATCH: Series Trailer, Year 3 (2013); Premiere film, Laleh Khorramian's Epic Animations

June 21, 2013 — For Immediate Release

New York, NY — Art21 announces the addition of seven new artists to its Webby-nominated online documentary series “New York Close Up,” with films premiering June 21 through September 2013. The seven emerging artists joining the project both broaden the scope of stories about cultural production and mirror the multiculturalism of New York City. Artists include the international/foreign-born artists Laleh Khorramian (Iran), Meleko Mokgosi (Botswana), and Marela Zacarías (Mexico); as well as artists drawn to New York from across the United States: Debo Eilers (Texas), Daniel Gordon (California), Mary Mattingly (Connecticut), and Jacolby Satterwhite (South Carolina).

Upcoming films reveal the issues that young artists encounter today, from problems of space to sustainability to living in an increasingly digital world. Following her first major solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, Marela Zacarías (b. 1978) faces the humbling challenge of deciding what to do with her large mural-like sculptures—destroy, store, salvage, or give to friends for safekeeping. Artist Mary Mattingly (b. 1978) is filmed dragging a sculptural bundle of her personal belongings across the Bayonne Bridge, a performative action that illuminates a contemporary dependence on cheap mass-produced objects and obscure global supply chains. The inescapability of digital imagery is explored by artist Daniel Gordon (b. 1980) who downloads source pictures on the Internet for handmade paper collages—that he then re-photographs using large-format film cameras—only to digitally scan, print, and upload to his website. Upcoming films focus on innovative processes and techniques. Artists Jacolby Satterwhite (b. 1986) and Laleh Khorramian (b. 1974) create surreal digital animations with live-action performance from handmade sources such as drawings and monotypes, while artists Debo Eilers (b. 1974) and Meleko Mokgosi (b. 1981) appropriate found materials and imagery into sculptures and paintings that play on a viewer’s psychological interpretations and cultural assumptions.

The first of the new films, featuring artist Laleh Khorramian, premieres today on

Stories woven into “New York Close Up” films include the drama of completing works for major museums, biennials, small arts nonprofits, commercial art galleries, and art fairs throughout the city; performances and street actions; and artists at work alone in their studios and in collaboration with fellow artists, musicians, and designers. Films delve into artists’ biographies and sources of creative inspiration, while contextualizing art production in the context of problems such as real estate, scarce resources, student debt, and finances.

“This series is created through a process of discovery and by trying to get as close as possible to an artist’s point of view,” says series co-creator and Art21 Associate Curator Wesley Miller, who adds “that’s where the excitement is—collaborating with artists to create portraits not just of themselves, but also of the time and place in which they live.” Series co-creator and Art21 Director of Production Nick Ravich says “Our approach is to work slowly with artists to trace the development of their work and experiences. It’s through the production of multiple films, over several years, that we create a space for experimentation and for chronicling the trajectories of young artists living and working in the city.”

Ongoing Relationships

Art21 is extending its collaboration with all of the series artists in this multi-year film web series, committing to telling multiple stories with featured artists into 2014. Participating artists include: Diana Al-Hadid, Alejandro Almanza Pereda, Lucas Blalock, David Brooks, Martha Colburn, Keltie Ferris, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Josephine Halvorson, Tommy Hartung, Rashid Johnson, Liz Magic Laser, Kalup Linzy, Eddie Martinez, Shana Moulton, Mariah Roberston, Mika Rottenberg, Erin Shirreff, and Mika Tajima.

About “New York Close Up”

“New York Close Up” is a unique online documentary 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. The series is 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.

Production & Viewership

To date the series has released 39 five- to ten-minute films—over 4 hours in total—crafted from over 400 hours of original, high-definition documentary footage. Distributed online, the series has reached over 250,000 viewers and has been screened at international film festivals such as FIFA in Montreal and FILAF in Perpignan, France; at art fairs such as NADA and Cutlog in New York; and on digital billboards such as Big Screen Plaza in New York.


“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; Lambent Foundation; Dedalus Foundation; and Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc. Additional support provided by The 1896 Studios & Stages, and by individual contributors.

About Art21

Art21, the non-profit producer of the Peabody Award-winning series “Art in the Twenty-First Century,” 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” films, and education resources, are made available for free online at


Press Contact:
Eve Moros Ortega
eve [AT]


Series Trailer, Year 3 (2013)