PBS announced today that ART IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY, the Peabody Award-winning biennial series that presents exclusive documentary profiles of the top contemporary artists working today, will return with a sixth season airing Fridays, April 13, 20, 27 and May 4, 2012, 9:00 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings). The premiere episode, Change, features a profile of Ai Weiwei, the Chinese artist arrested by government officials last year. The segment includes one of the first on-camera interviews he gave after he was released from detention in June 2011. A clip from the interview can be found at series producer Art21s website art21.org.
In addition to Ai Weiwei, artists featured in the sixth season are Marina Abramovic, David Altmejd, El Anatsui, assume vivid astro focus, Lynda Benglis, Rackstraw Downes, Glenn Ligon, Robert Mangold, Catherine Opie, Mary Reid Kelley, Sarah Sze, and Tabaimo.
For 10 years, ART IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY has given viewers a rare, inside look at contemporary art that you wont find in any museum or gallery, said John F. Wilson, senior vice president & chief TV programming executive. PBS viewers have the opportunity to hear the artists themselves discussing their creative process in their own words, and see them in their studios as they create works of art that have received critical acclaim the world over. We are very proud to present this kind of quality arts programming that cant be found anywhere else on television.
Art21 has always presented contemporary art as a vital means of education, expression and communication, said Susan Sollins, Executive Director of Art21. That Ai Weiweis work galvanized human rights activists in China, and worldwide, is a dramatic reminder of the power of artists to engage deeply with the challenges of our times. We are very proud to include him speaking to us from his Beijing studio in this sixth season of Art in the Twenty-First Century, and equally proud of the 100 artists who have participated to date in the series, each of whom serves as a powerful role model for creative thinking.
The premiere episode of Season Six, Change, features Ai Weiwei, El Anatsui and Catherine Opie. The artists in this hour bear witness, in their work, to transformationcultural, material, and aestheticand actively engage communities as collaborators and subjects.
Boundaries, airing April 20, features David Altmejd, Tabaimo, assume vivid astro focus, and Lynda Benglis. The artists in this episode synthesize disparate aesthetic traditions, present taboo subject matter, discover innovative uses of media, and explore the shape-shifting potential of the human figure.
History, airing April 27, features Glenn Ligon, Mary Reid Kelley and Marina Abramovic. History is a theme woven throughout the work of these artists, who mine personal and collective narratives and play with historical events to explore and expose commonly held assumptions about historic truth, and reveal connections between past events and the lived present.
Balance, airing May 4, features Rackstraw Downes, Robert Mangold and Sarah Sze. Through sculpture, paintings, and installations, the artists in this hour grapple with equilibrium and disequilibrium as they create highly structured works that challenge conventional notions of perception and representation.
The sixth season of ART IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY will be available on DVD from ShopPBS.org
or 800-PLAY-PBS, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.