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Change Begins with Hindsight: Announcing Art21 Blog Themes


Alfredo Jaar. Production still from the “Art in the Twenty-First Century” Season 4 episode, “Protest,” 2007. Segment: Alfredo Jaar © Art21, Inc. 2007.

The Art21 Blog is changing.

Starting today, we will focus on a different theme every eight weeks. Our columnists and guest writers will continue to bring their unique voices and perspectives to the topic, ultimately creating one conversation with many different threads. Sound familiar? That’s because we’ve taken a cue from the popularity of our long-running conversation series, “Flash Points,” as well as the thematic grouping of our film series, Art in the Twenty-First Century.

Our first theme is HINDSIGHT. The word is defined as “the ability to understand, after something has happened, what should have been done or what caused the event after its occurrence” or “recognition of the realities, possibilities, or requirements of a situation, event, or decision, etc.” Art21’s yearlong 100 Artists celebration (marking the milestone of having profiled 100 artists in Art in the Twenty-First Century) inspired this theme. As we look back on our past six seasons, we also excitedly anticipate the future: Season 7, scheduled to premiere in the fall of 2014, is already in the works.

Kerry James Marshall Viewing “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (Un dimanche après-midi à l’Ile de la Grande Jatte)” by Georges Seurat (1884-1886) at the Art Institute of Chicago, 2000. Production still from the “Art in the Twenty-First Century” Season 1 episode, “Identity,” 2001. © Art21, Inc. 2001

In a sense, contemporary artists are always exercising hindsight. Kerry James Marshall suggested this in our Season 1 episode, “Identity”:

“We only move into the twenty-first century on the foundation of things that were established long, long ago. The principals that govern the way visual representation works are the same principals that governed the way it worked 500 years ago. 1,000 years ago. 2,000 years ago. It makes perfect sense to me to go back to the origins of these things and pick up from there.”

With this idea of gazing in the rear view mirror, our writers have come up with a rich array of content. Between May and June you’ll read about abandoned art projects that linger in the present; how certain songs trigger memories of change and revolution; art zines as documents for posterity; a new public art project that maps the life of Malcolm X; myths that surround famous architecture; war veterans as contemporary muses; and so much more. You’ll also have a front row seat to our latest Exclusive and New York Close Up films in which James TurrellMaya LinRobert Mangold, and other Art21-featured artists think back on early installations, landscapes and disasters, close friendships, and career choices.

The Art21 Blog features over 20 regular columns and more than 3,200 posts to date. The site continues to be a go-to resource for critical reflections on contemporary art and artists and the ideas that inspire them. Check back often.

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