Art21 News Roundup: Doreen Garner Upends the Pedestal

Today we’re excited to welcome a new artist to the Art21 roster as part of our New York Close Up digital series: Doreen Garner. Born in Philadelphia and based in Brooklyn, Garner creates corporeal sculptures that utilize glass, silicone, beads, crystals, synthetic hair, and other materials to explore the frequently suppressed and traumatic medical histories of the Black body.

Premiering today, our film on Garner follows the artist’s recent performance and exhibition at Pioneer Works, White Man On a Pedestal. Garner asks audiences to face the profound racism underlying the work of Dr. J. Marion Sims, the subject of a to-be decommissioned public statue along Central Park.

This film is the third in our series of five film premieres kicking off our 21st anniversary year. And as Garner states, we hope the film stays with you: “I want the audience to walk away feeling like they can’t unsee what they just saw.”

New Films Featuring Raúl de Nieves and Doreen Garner

Raúl de Nieves and Colin Self Harmonize

Premiered February 7, as part of the Art21 digital series New York Close Up

Artists Raúl de Nieves and Colin Self collaborate in the creation of their chamber opera, The Fool, staged in February 2017 at Chelsea’s renowned arts space, The Kitchen.

“My friends teach me how to give, how to receive,” says de Nieves. “Without the little help each one of us gives one another, it would actually be very hard to sustain a normal life.”

Watch the film.

Doreen Garner Sculpts Our Trauma

Premiered February 21, as part of the Art21 digital series New York Close Up

Doreen Garner creates visceral, life-like sculptures that acknowledge the brutality endured by the subjects of J. Marion Sims, a nineteenth century doctor who operated on enslaved Black women without anesthesia or consent. For her performance Purge, Garner recreates the monument to Sims that stands in Central Park, enacting the very gynecological surgery that Sims became famous for upon this silicone body with a group of Black female performers.

“I’m operating in a really weird place,” explains Garner. “I’m a Black woman horrified by these actions, and yet I have to show all these actions so that it’s not a situation where people are able to overlook this information anymore.”

Watch the film.

Subscribe for Early Access to Two New Films Premiering in March

We’re kicking off our 21st year with a run of five new film premieres over ten weeks. We just premiered our third film today, but there are still two premieres to come in March, featuring artists Abigail DeVille and the late Jack Whitten.

To celebrate the film premieres, we are offering an opportunity to gain early access to these two upcoming films.

Subscribe for early access with a recurring contribution of $5 each month in February and March. This special subscription package will not only give you early access to two of our newest films, but will also help to support the creation of future Art21 films featuring the leading artists of our time.

Extended Play is Presented by alta in 2018

We are thrilled to announce that during 2018, new films from our Extended Play digital series will be presented by alta, a digital age print studio and fine art publisher providing artists a new medium for creating original editions from physical sources and digital intervention. alta shares in Art21’s belief that we can inspire a more creative world through the works and words of contemporary artists, making them a natural partner for our Extended Play series.

To get to know alta, visit their newly launched website or follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Featured Playlist

Portraying the Black American Experience

By transforming the contemporary Black experience into powerful works of art, African American artists have created some of the most compelling, significant artworks of our lifetime.

Whether they’re bringing attention to important issues that news headlines omit, or celebrating the history and heroes that brought us to our present moment, the artists in this playlist are celebrated in their own right for expanding and illuminating the conversations we have around bias, race, and representation.

Watch the playlist.

Highlights from the Art21 Magazine

Barbara Kruger. Untitled (Shopping), 2002. Installation view: Façade of Galeria Kaufhof, Frankfurt. Courtesy of Mary Boone Gallery, New York. Photo: Schirn Kunsthalle.

From the Winter 2018 “Whose Public?” issue:

  • In a rare interview, Barbara Kruger shares her media diet, what she sees as art’s role in contemporary society, and the inspiration behind two of her earliest works.
  • Educator-in-Residence Nick Kozak details his unit on street art, in which students critically examine the anonymous artists creating work in their neighborhoods.

Read the issue.

Apply Now for Art21 Educators

There’s less than a month left to apply for the upcoming year of Art21 Educators. K-12 teachers from across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico are invited to apply for this year-long program, which kicks off with a Summer Institute here in New York City.

Last year’s cohort visited Leonardo Drew’s studio (above!) and went to the American Museum of Natural History with New York Close Up artist David Brooks.

Learn more about the program, and apply by March 19.

Save the Date: Art21’s 21st Birthday Gala

Save the date for a festive gala celebrating Art21’s history of excellence documenting the voices and creative practices of the greatest artists of our time. Join us for an evening recognizing the artists, producers, and leaders that have made Art21 possible.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018
New York City
Agnes Gund pays tribute to Susan Sollins
Honoring Julie Mehretu

For more information and to purchase tickets, contact [email protected] or visit

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