The New Season of Art21’s Flagship TV Series Premieres With Profiles of ‘Artist Investigators’ Hank Willis Thomas, the Guerrilla Girls, and More

As part of a collaboration with Art21, hear news-making artists describe their inspirations in their own words.

Hank Willis Thomas in a production still from the "Art in the Twenty-First Century" Season 11 episode, "Bodies of Knowledge.” © Art21, Inc. 2023.

This Friday, a new episode of the acclaimed series Art in the Twenty-First Century premieres on PBS with a whole new roster of contemporary artists. Titled “Bodies of Knowledge,” the second episode of Season 11 features artists Anicka Yi, Tauba Auerbach, the Guerrilla Girls, and Hank Willis Thomas. Working in politics, identity, technology, and community, the artists navigate new modes of understanding the world, at a time when a belief in truth and the historical record is fast eroding.

Presented not simply as artists, but as “artist investigators,” they probe the structures, both physical and metaphorical, that extend within and beyond the art world. The artist investigators reveal little-known truths about society, diving into subjects like the exclusion of women and artists of color from leading art institutions, and the hidden math underlying centuries of visual patterning.

Viewers will have the opportunity to experience a Guerrilla Girls intervention, staged in front of major New York City museums, and witness the creative process behind Hank Willis Thomas’s new public sculpture, The Embrace. Viewers can also observe Anicka Yi’s flying, A.I.-controlled “aerobe” machines at the Tate’s Turbine Hall in London, as well as Tauba Auerbach’s two-person pump organ, the Auerglass.

“The artists in ‘Bodies of Knowledge’ question how we know what we know,” said Tina Kukielski, the executive director and chief curator of Art21. “They are truth-seekers, and their art expands our capacity to understand the world and one another.”

 

Watch the trailer for “Bodies of Knowledge,” below. The new episode premieres on Friday, June 23. 


This is an installment of “Art on Video,” a collaboration between Artnet News and Art21 that brings you clips of news-making artists. A new season of the nonprofit Art21’s flagship series Art in the Twenty-First Century is available now on PBS. Catch all episodes of other series, like New York Close Up and Extended Play, and learn about the organization’s educational programs at Art21.org.


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