When the inaugural season of Art21’s broadcast series Art in the Twenty-First Century debuted on PBS in 2001, television was still the primary form of communicating to the masses. The Web was a different place back then. Dial-up was king. Hotmail was hot. YouTube and Vimeo didn’t exist. And Napster was starting to crumble. By 2008 the digital landscape had changed drastically, and it was at this time that Art21 found itself with hours of unused footage from interviews with over 75 leading contemporary artists featured in Art in the Twenty-First Century. Recognizing an opportunity to reach a new audience online, Art21 producers Wesley Miller and Nick Ravich created the Web-only series Exclusive by cutting this unused footage into short, tightly edited films, each with an average duration of three minutes. One of the first online film series dedicated to contemporary art, Exclusive acknowledged the new direction in which content distribution was headed.
The very first episode of Exclusive featured artist Mark Bradford describing the Super 8 films that he made as a child in collaboration with his neighborhood friends. Bradford’s means were limited but he did not lack ambition; one night he tried to project his films on the clouds in the sky. Like Bradford, Art21 began the Exclusive series with a lofty goal: to introduce online audiences around the world to artists’ complex ideas in an accessible format. Now five years later, Art21 will celebrate the release of the 200th Exclusive episode this Friday, bringing the series to more than ten hours of free content. Watch the following teaser for a taste of what’s to come later this week:
As the current producer of the Exclusive series, my goal going forward is to present a diverse range of artists and ideas, and to show how the artists featured in Art in the Twenty-First Century evolve over time. To do this, I will continue to mine our rich library of existing footage, as well as conduct new interviews with the artists we’ve featured. Although the creative process is widely believed to be unexplainable, I hope that the Exclusive series brings audiences closer to understanding the many different ways that great art is made.
Browse the entire Exclusive series at Art21.org.
Viewer support helps Art21 produce new episodes of Exclusive, while also helping to provide free access to audiences around the world. Support the future of the Exclusive series with a contribution to Art21 today.