Artists Edgar Arceneaux, Nick Cave, Stan Douglas, and Theaster Gates are featured in Season 8 of ART21.


THE NEW SEASON OF “ART21: Art in the 21st Century” debuts Sept. 16, 2016. For the first time, the PBS series is focusing on the connection to place and the ways an artist’s practice is influenced and driven by where they live and work.

More than a decade ago, Theaster Gates renovated a house in Greater Grand Crossing, a South Side neighborhood close to his job at the University of Chicago. In the years since, he has purchased adjacent properties, programming them for film screenings and listening sessions, and acquiring rare collections of records, books, and glass slides.

Stony Island Arts Bank, his most recent project opened last year. Gates saved the historic bank from demolition and has transformed the building into a community and cultural center that houses various archives and features exhibition space. The bank is the hallmark of his Rebuild Foundation, which focuses on culture based, artist led, and neighborhood driven activities. A hybrid of community development, social engagement, object making and performance, Gates’s practice has gone global, but the roots and inspiration for his work remain in Chicago, where he is still based.

Gates is among 16 artists who will be featured on Season 8 of ART 21. According to PBS, the series “provides unparalleled access to the most innovative artists of our time, revealing how artists engage the culture around them and how art allows viewers to see the world in new ways.”

ART21 “provides unparalleled access to the most innovative artists of our time, revealing how artists engage the culture around them and how art allows viewers to see the world in new ways.”

Clockwise, from top left, Nick Cave, Theaster Gates, Edgar Arceneaux, and Stan Douglas.| © Photo by Sandra; Courtesy White Cube Gallery; Courtesy Edgar Arceneaux via KCET; Via Cool Hunting


The new episodes include four African American artists, among the most creative, thought-provoking and socially engaged artists working today—Edgar Arceneaux of Los Angeles, Chicago-based Nick Cave, Canadian artist Stan Douglas, and Gates.

    Edgar Arceneaux (b.1972, Los Angeles, CA, USA) “investigates historical patterns through drawings, installations, and multimedia events, such as the reenactment of Ben Vereen’s tragically misunderstood blackface performance at Ronald Reagan’s 1981 Inaugural Gala.”

    Nick Cave (b.1959, Fulton, MO, USA) “creates ‘Soundsuits’—surreally majestic objects blending fashion and sculpture—that originated as metaphorical suits of armor in response to the Rodney King beatings and have evolved into vehicles for empowerment.”

    Stan Douglas (b.1960, Vancouver, BC, Canada) “reenacts historical moments of tension that connect local histories to broader social movements of struggle and utopian aspiration.”

    Theaster Gates (b.1973, Chicago, IL, USA) “first encountered creativity in the music of Black churches on his journey to becoming an urban planner, potter, and artist.”

The forthcoming season is hosted by actress Claire Danes and award-winning documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson is among the directors who worked on the segments. The show will air in four one-hour episodes, each focusing on four artists grouped by the city where they are based—Chicago (Sept. 16 @ 9 p.m., Cave and Gates), Mexico City (Sept. 16 @ 10 p.m.). Los Angeles (Sept. 23 @ 9 p.m., Arceneaux), and Vancouver (Sept. 23 @ 10 p.m., Douglas).

In a release, ART21 Executive Director Tina Kukielski said: “Art is increasingly being defined and described in relationship to a sense of place. In our time of hyper-interconnectivity, where you choose to live and work matters like never before.” CT


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