Art21 Extended Play

“Exclusive” Curated (Part 2 of 3)


Yesterday, we published the first Exclusive playlist in a three-part series that continues through Thursday. In today’s playlist, a conservationist, an educator, a musician, and a few other friends of Art21 share their favorite Exclusive episodes to date. Featuring artists Allan McCollum, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Bruce Nauman, Jenny Holzer, and Allora & Calzadilla, among others.

Richard McCoy, Conservation and Preservation Consultant

“I like all of the Art21 Exclusive videos that address the physicality of the artistic process. Many of them do this, but my favorite ones are those about El Anatsui. To see his studio assistants throw the “blocks” around on the concrete floor and make a new piece is remarkable to watch. Having this kind of perspective on an artist’s practice allows us to understand and interpret in rare ways.”


Jason Moran, musician and composer

Allan McCollum talks about his work and ‘the drama of quantities’ in a way that resonates with me—whether I’m thinking about music notes, the number of concerts in a tour, or the modification of a ‘mold’ (the song). It comes down to the emblem for me—what is the jazz emblem?”


Beatrice Wolert-Weese, Interim Director at CUE Art Foundation

“My first experience with Trenton Doyle Hancock was when he curated the work of Tom Secrest for CUE Art Foundation’s 2007/2008 season. Trenton wrote this about Secrest: ‘Tom has fused his art and life into one bramble…every square inch of wall space in his home and studio is covered with art and inspirational ephemera.’ I can’t help but wonder whether that experience of curating may have informed Hancock’s piece [featured in this video].”


Risa Puleo, Program Director at Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue

“Even though this Exclusive is only 2.5 minutes, Bruce Nauman presents a nuanced philosophical position for being in the world. ‘Pay attention!’ Be present in the moment of your actions, an important lesson not only for horseback riding and art making, but also for looking and being in relationship to objects. Nauman talks about the importance of our teachers and communicates that the pedagogical process isn’t only about learning a specific task but asks us to expand ourselves as moving bodies, as thinking people, in relationship to the world and objects through that task. Then again, maybe I just like horses.”

“I’ve long been a fan of Janine Antoni’s work and was disappointed last year when my travel schedule didn’t allow me to attend Like Lazarus Did. For an artist who has spent much of her career using her body as an agent to engage with materials and abstracting the body into abstract forms, I thought it was brilliant for her to ‘resurrect’ her catalogue of work by reinscribing it back onto bodies as a ‘retrospective.’ This Exclusive video on Antoni’s collaboration with choreographer Stephen Petronio was fantastic, not only for the insights it provided on the artist and choreographer’s working practices and thinking, but also because the cameras move us through the performance, giving a vantage point I wouldn’t have had as an audience member.”


Christian Gaines, Executive Director at ArtPrize

“I have been a fan of Jenny Holzer since the 1980s, when someone gave me small square silver stickers with passages from her Survival Collection. I especially loved these two: ‘WHEN SOMEONE BEATS YOU WITH A FLASHLIGHT YOU MAKE LIGHT SHINE IN ALL DIRECTIONS’ and ‘PUT FOOD OUT IN THE SAME PLACE EVERY DAY AND TALK TO THE PEOPLE WHO COME TO EAT AND ORGANIZE THEM.’ Later in my life, I delighted in seeing Holzer’s work in public places around the world…I feel like I have grown up with her work. In this Exclusive, I love her frankness about the emotional toll her work takes on her, and how she values her anonymity, even though her blunt commentary and often brash, large-scale visual style demands attention.”


Marc Mayer, Educator for Public Programs at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum

“I joined the staff at Art21 [as the Manager of Education and Public Programs] not long after the Exclusive series began. I was so excited to be part of this project. One of the first posts I read on the Art21 Blog (now the Art21 Magazine) was about this Nancy Spero video. I remember watching it and thinking that it was short, to the point, and a wonderful kernel of a story. I was wrapped up with excitement about being part of the Art21 team, and working toward the goal of not just documenting artists and their practices but also connecting viewers, teachers, students, and other artists to what it means to be an artist today.”

“As an art educator, I remember struggling to talk about form and formalism in abstract painting, sculpture, and even in architecture. I didn’t have the language or conceptual framework. This video of Allora & Calzadilla removed that barrier for me, making form visible, a language in and of itself, embedded with history, politics, technology, etc.”

“The Asian Art Museum’s collection is impressive to say the least, but when I came here I was apprehensive about how I could make my experience and knowledge of contemporary art relevant to a museum collection of over 18,000 objects, most of which predate the twentieth century. How does one successfully draw connections between different times and cultures? I have come back many times to the work of Shazhia Sikander to formulate approaches to this challenge. Sikander situates herself in traditional miniature painting but simultaneously breaks away from it, creating something new. When I listened to her talk about ‘taking a form, breaking it apart, and then rebuilding it,’ it gave me a new perspective on my own work.”

“Right now I am working on programs for an upcoming exhibition called Gorgeous, which explores beauty in its most extreme forms, from the overly ornate to the highly restrained. In trying to unpack the ideas of the show, this Jessica Stockholder video makes me think about the difference between taste and beauty and, more importantly, the role pleasure plays in what might constitute ‘gorgeous.’”