Museum hosts TV show screenings before premiere


What is art?

Art includes many media, from paints and sculptures to photography. In the TV series “Art in the Twenty-First Century,” artists proficient in different techniques and from different parts of the world tell their story about how their artwork influences them and the world around them.

“Art in the Twenty-First Century” is in its sixth season and K-State art students had the opportunity to view a screening of an episode before the premiere on PBS on April 13.

“The Beach [Museum of Art] is a designated site for screening new Art21 releases,” said Linda Duke, director of the museum. “We are delighted to share that opportunity with the department of art.”

On April 3, during their usual class, the students of Art Career Seminar had the opportunity to view “Changes,” one of the four segments in this season.

“‘Changes’ features artists dealing with the world in flux – cultural, material and aesthetic transformation,” said Kathrine Schlageck, senior curator at the museum.

This episode consisted of three artists – Ai Weiwei, El Anatsui and Catherine Opie.

El Anatsui talked about why change was important within his work and when each piece is put into a different exhibit, though it was the same materials, it changed.

For Ai Weiwei, Art21 was restricted to interviewing him only about his art because of issues with his release from prison. Ai explained that he became an artist because he had the choice to become a farmer, warrior or worker, or he could become an artist. Since his father was a poet, he became an artist.

Though Tuesday’s screening only consisted of “Changes,” another part, “Boundaries,” will be shown on April 26.

“The theme of ‘Boundaries’ deals with freedom of expression,” Schlageck said.

This part of the season has a K-State connection, as one of the feature artists was a visiting artist.

“We are especially pleased that one of the artists featured in the April 26 screening is represented in our collection,” Schlageck said. “Lynda Benglis was a visiting artist at K-State in the 1970s. The work she produced, called ‘Phantom,’ has recently been loaned to museums across the country, including New York City and Los Angeles, as part of a large show of her work.”

“Art in the Twenty-First Century” gives artists a chance to explain why they do what they do to a larger audience.

“I go over that same little shadow over and over again until I get that shape. It has a character. It has some kind of little curly Q there where that rock sticks out and you’ve got to get that curly Q and you aren’t satisfied until you get it,” said artist Rackstraw Downes in the preview for “Art in the Twenty-First Century” season six.

For those who attend the screening, there are other reasons to have such a program.

“I think they are an enjoyable way for students, faculty members, the wider community, to access the ideas and values of contemporary artists,” Duke said.