Art:21 - Art in the 21st Century is a PBS series, educational resource, archive, and history of contemporary art. It premiered in 2001, and is now broadcast in over 50 countries worldwide. Premiering a new season every two years, Art:21 is the only series on United States television to focus exclusively on contemporary visual art and artists. It is a nonprofit organization founded in 1997 to make contemporary art more accessible to the public, and to document 21st-century art and artists from the artists' own perspectives. Their overall goal is to raise the profile of major players in the world of contemporary art and to encourage creativity. The main office is located in New York City.
The Art21 organization's current projects include their PBS television series, education, public programs & outreach, online resources (including Art21 Blog), and the publishing of books.
Art21 Blog is written by writers and contributors and since 2008, has featured posts written by guest writers.
Each season is separated into episodes by themes. Each theme showcases artists that fit into that niche in some fashion.
Season one (2001):
- Place - Introduction by artist Laurie Anderson. Featured artists are Richard Serra, Sally Mann, Margaret Kilgallen, Barry McGee, and Pepon Osorio.
- Identity - Introduction by comedian Steve Martin, and artist, William Wegman. Featured artists are Bruce Nauman, Kerry James Marshall, Maya Lin, and Louise Bourgeois.
- Spirituality - Introduction by Beryl Korot and S. Epatha Merkerson. Featured artists are Ann Hamilton, John Feodorov, Shahzia Sikander, and James Turrell.
- Consumption - Introduction by artist Barbara Kruger, and former professional tennis player John McEnroe. Featured artists are Michael Ray Charles, Matthew Barney, Andrea Zittel, and Mel Chin.
Season two (2003):
- Stories - Introduction by filmmaker John Waters (directed by Charles Atlas). Featured artists are Kara Walker, Kiki Smith, Do-Ho Suh, and Trenton Doyle Hancock.
- Loss and Desire - Introduction by four-time Oscar-nominated actress Jane Anderson (directed by Charles Atlas). Featured artists are Collier Schorr, Gabriel Orozco, and Janine Antoni.
- Humor - Introduction by comedian Margaret Cho. (directed by Charles Atlas) Featured artists are Eleanor Antin, Raymond Pettibon, Elizabeth Murray, and Walton Ford.
- Time - Introduction by dancer/choreographer Merce Cunningham. (directed by Charles Atlas) Featured artists are Martin Puryear, Paul Pfeiffer, Vija Celmins, and Tim Hawkinson.
Season three (2005):
- Power - Introduction by actor David Alan Grier. Featured artists are Cai Guo-Qiang, Laylah Ali, Krzysztof Wodiczko, Ida Applebroog, Teresa Hubbard, and Alexander Birchler.
- Memory - Introduction by actress Isabella Rossellini. Featured artists are Susan Rothenberg, Mike Kelley, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Josiah McElheny, Teresa Hubbard, and Alexander Birchler.
- Play - Introduction by basketball player Grant Hill. Featured artists are Jessica Stockholder, Oliver Herring, Arturo Herrera, Ellen Gallagher, Teresa Hubbard, and Alexander Birchler.
- Structures - Introduction by actor Sam Waterston. Featured artists are Matthew Ritchie, Fred Wilson, Richard Tuttle, Roni Horn, Teresa Hubbard, and Alexander Birchler.
Season four (2007):
- Romance - Featured artists are Laurie Simmons, Lari Pittman, Judy Pfaff, and Pierre Huyghe.
- Protest - Featured artists are Nancy Spero, An-My Lê, Alfredo Jaar, and Jenny Holzer.
- Ecology - Featured artists are Ursula von Rydingsvard, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Robert Adams, and Mark Dion.
- Paradox - Featured artists are Mark Bradford, Catherine Sullivan, Robert Ryman, Jennifer Allora, and Guillermo Calzadilla.
Season five (2009):
- Compassion - Featured artists are William Kentridge, Doris Salcedo and Carrie Mae Weems.
- Fantasy - Featured artists are Cao Fei, Mary Heilmann, Jeff Koons, and Florian Maier-Aichen.
- Transformation - Featured artists are Paul McCarthy, Cindy Sherman, Yinka Shonibare.
- Systems - Featured artists are Julie Mehretu, John Baldessari, Kimsooja, and Allan McCollum.
Season six (2012):
- Change - Featured artists are Ai Weiwei, Catherine Opie, and El Anatsui.
- Boundaries - Featured artists are assume vivid astro focus, David Altmejd, Lynda Benglis, and Tabaimo.
- History - Featured artists are Glenn Ligon, Marina Abramović, and Mary Reid Kelley.
- Balance - Featured artists are Rackstraw Downes, Robert Mangold, and Sarah Sze.
- George Foster Peabody Award
- Platinum Best in Show from the Aurora Awards
- Gold Remi from the 41st WorldFest Independent Film Festival
- Silver Hugo from the 44th Hugo Television Awards
- Silver Screen from the 41st U.S. International Film and Video Festival
- Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Artistic and Cultural Programming
- Gold Hugo Award from the Chicago International Television Competition
- CINE Golden Eagle Award
- Gold Award from Aurora Film Festival
- Bronze Remi Award from World Fest Houston International Film Festival
- Festival International du Film Sur L'Art (FIFA)
- Arte Cinema: Festival Internationale di Film sull' Arte Contemporanea
- National Arts Education Association (NAEA) Annual Convention: 2011 keynote presentation with Janine Antoni and Oliver Herring; 2009 keynote presentation with Mark Bradford; 2007 presentation of the Youth Engagement initiative; 2006 keynote speech by artist Krzysztof Wodiczko, all-day screening salon, and super session panel presentation showcasing Art21 in the classroom; 2005 screening event in collaboration with The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston.
- National Center for Outreach (NCO) Conference: Annual PBS Pipeline presentation: 2004 panel session explored using the arts to address community issues.
- Grant-makers in the Art Annual Conference: Armchair discussion with artists and educators about Art21, education, and new media.
- Arts Education Partnership(AEP) Professional Development Forum: Workshop presented Art21 and opportunities to support professional development in arts education.
Additional conferences: New York City Art Teachers Association/United Federation of Teachers (NYCATA/UFT) Annual Conference Colorado Art Education Association (CAEA) Annual Conference Art Educators of New Jersey (AENJ) Annual Conference New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) National Education Telecommunications Association
Art21 has 4 advisory councils that specialize in different aspects, but who all work to further the aspirations of the organization.
- The Curatorial Council A nationally based group that helps to set the basis for each of the "Art:21 - Art in the 21st Century" seasons.
- Education Advisory Council A group of nationally recognized educators in K-12, higher education and museum education that contribute insight in strategic planning to support Art21's core education mission.
- The Humanities Advisory Council A group of Humanities scholars who aim to help establish a relationship between visual art and humanities disciplines.
- The International Council An international group of scholars, arts professionals, museum directors, critics and curators that supports Art21's global commitment to education and access.