Art21 Extended Play

Eleanor Antin Plays with Politics

Detail of Theater of the Absurd (2016) at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts in New York City. Production still from the series ART21 Exclusive. © ART21, Inc. 2016. Cinematography: John Marton.

Detail of Theater of the Absurd (2016) at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts in New York City.
Production still from the series ART21 Exclusive. © ART21, Inc. 2016. Cinematography: John Marton.

“Life is a mixture of the absurd, the comic and the disastrous.” —Eleanor Antin

Today’s ART21 Exclusive features Eleanor Antin discussing her use of paper dolls to create politically charged sculptures and videos. “I thought that I was finished working with paper dolls and was on to other things until those idiotic Republican debates and that insane list of characters,” says Antin of Theater of the Absurd (2016).

Antin made numerous works with paper dolls in the 1970s, including The Nurse and the Hijackers (1977). The absurdly comedic video depicts a group of ecological terrorists attempting to convince oil-producing nations to help save the planet. The artist’s inclusion of paper dolls depicting deceased friends, such a Ree Morton and Elizabeth Murray, allows for reflection on her own mortality.

ART21 Exclusive is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; 21c Museum Hotel, and by individual contributors.

CREDITS: Director & Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Ian Forster. Editor: Morgan Riles. Camera: John Marton. Artwork Courtesy: Eleanor Antin, Electronic Arts Intermix, New York & Ronald Feldman Fine Arts.

 

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