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Art Through Time: A Global View

Series Overview

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series overview

Segment Title: Program 1: Converging Cultures

Guillermo Gómez-Peña: Mexico es California. Argelia es Paris.

Barbara Mundy: I often think of artists as a creative, imaginary force in society that offers us new ways of seeing things.

Guillermo Gómez-Peña: Cambodia es San Francisco.

Jay Levenson: It’s clear there are certain very interesting convergences of culture that lead to the creation of hybrid works of art that under other circumstances never would have been produced.

Alan Chong: These forms of hybrid art actually create something new and powerful that belongs to two cultures, and sometimes taps in even to a greater cultural ambience

Guillermo Gómez-Peña: Your house is also mine.

Barbara Mundy: I see artists as being agents of change, agents of absorption in these situations of cultural contact.

Guillermo Gómez-Peña: Your language mine as well

Alan Chong: Now whether that’s called export porcelain or fused style,

Melissa Chiu: We have a new sensibility of global cultures, of interconnections between cultures. But I think that we must also remember that there were many different moments where the ancient world or traditional world was inter-connected.

Guillermo Gómez-Peña: Thank you.

Segment Title: Program 2: Dreams and Visions

Yukio Lippit: Art that’s emanated from dreams is understood to somehow document or partake of an extraordinarily sensitized moment of perception. And if it can somehow convey that to the viewer, then the viewer, in viewing dream art, is taken out of their ordinary perceiving lives and transported to a different realm of cognition.

Edward Sullivan: That sense of introspection, that sense of connectedness, perhaps connectedness beyond the mundane realities of this universe, to something higher. What that higher thing is, it is only defined by each individual artist.

Natasha Staller: The idea of painting a dream or nightmare becomes part of a voyage of self-discovery.

Edward Sullivan: The greatness of these artists, I think, lies in their ability to actually project onto a surface, the form of introspective communication with something beyond our immediate understanding.

Patrick Hunt: There’s an alchemy about depicting art, in which what art may often do best, is expressing the internal.

Segment Title: Program 3: History and Memory

Lisa Saltzman: If one thinks about the relationship between art and history and memory, when we depict things, when we depict human figures, events, in some sense, we are creating the visual as a site of memory.

John Hanhardt: From that bison on a cave to the great history of Renaissance painting, photography, the cinema—art is about shaping memories of the history and the past.

Lisa Saltzman: From its very origins, art has always been about an act of remembrance.

Segment Title: Program 4: Ceremony and Society

Patrick Hunt: Ceremony is almost always invested with dignity, where we think we can slow down time, and mark a moment as more important than another.

Nasser Rabbat: A ceremonial is always a spectacle and it’s meant to be as such. And in this context, art is actually serving as the the support of that spectacle.

When you go to a museum you are looking at objects that are totally detached from their context.

You look at them as art and you start seeing their formal quality, their artistic qualities,

Polly Roberts: They are products of aesthetic genius, but many of the objects were not necessarily made as art, originally.

Nasser Rabbat: These objects were not produced to be put on a pedestal, or to be put in a glass box.

Polly Roberts: In point of fact, most of these objects were made for a purpose.

Segment Title: Program 5: Cosmology and Belief

Anne D’Alleva: Where do we come from? What are we? And where are we going?

Fred Myers: One of the fundamental problems that culture faces is the articulation of the place of the human self in the world, in the broader world, in the cosmos.

We are beings who live through a symbolic order. Therefore, we’re faced with the possibility of somehow formulating in terms graspable, intelligible, experience-able our place in that world.

And culture, while it does many things, including organizing us to make our way from here to the gas station, provides us general models for understanding our relationship to the ultimate conditions of existence.

Segment Title: Program 6: Death

Person #1: I will die.

Person #2: I will die.

Person #3: I will die.

Person #4: I will die.

Angelo Filomeno: Well, first of all, let’s talk about death.

Yui Suzuki: Death is an inevitable experience that everybody has to go through—there’s no way to escape that.

Ilan Stavans: Death occurs to all of us, it is commonplace in the human experience. And yet we experience it according to the lens, to the kaleidoscope that our own culture provides us.

Stanley Brandes: Death is one of the most traumatic occurrences that we can experience and I think it’s for this reason that it’s a fount of so much creativity.

Segment Title: Program 7: Domestic Life

Alexandra Griffith Winton: The home is one of the most intimate and most personal spaces that people look at for information about themselves and one another.

Soyoung Lee: Behind our front doors are objects that define us, that give us meaning.

Faith Ringgold: Every culture creates things that are useful in their lives, whether they are in a cold climate, in a hot climate, or, you know, the place that they live in, and they do the best they can to live there. And out of that comes different forms of art. Great art comes out of the way they live and what they make to live in that way.

Segment Title: Program 8: Writing

Sylvia Wolf: The idea of what constitutes meaning I think is crucial in this discussion of art and the written word. If we look back at hieroglyphs or if we look back at illuminated and illustrated manuscripts, they are utilizing language and words, but to provide information. And yet, that a scribe could beautifully and artfully lend some skills with painting is something that we find so satisfying today.

Segment Title: Program 9: Portraits

Susan Sidlauskas: The face is the first thing we’re drawn to. A baby looks at a face. An animal looks at your face.

David Lubin: Before we learn to talk or walk we learn reading the signals in a person’s face.

Kehinde Wiley: Because we’re selfish, we want to see elements of ourselves in everything.

Anne Mcclanan: You can see how it’s almost fundamental for survival. You have this need to recognize, to make distinctions, to read emotions. It’s absolutely crucial.

Susan Sidlauskas: Given the fact that faces are so critical to us it’s natural that portraiture as a genre would have been one of the ascendant art forms for thousands of years.

Segment Title: Program 10: The Natural World

Romita Ray: Nature is full of hidden surprises and secrets.

John Beardsley: There’s a kind of mystery and ambiguity to it. It’s dynamic.

Peter Roe: Animals are born just like we are, age just like we do, and die just like we do. Plants, the same. Rivers meander and move. They flood, they drain. Mountains move, they erupt, they erode.

John Beardsley: You can go to the same place at different times of day, different seasons, and it will be different.

Robert Harris: Art somehow makes sense of this environment. It is a way of understanding the natural world.

Segment Title: Program 11: The Urban Experience

David Brown: A city could be thought of as the largest piece of collectively made vernacular art that exists that contains embedded within it artist-designed architecture and public planning.

Anna Indych-Lopez: In cities, you have this concentration not only of life, but intellectual life that often can stir creativity.

Jon Ritter: Urban planning, urban design seek to provide an experience of space, of social interaction in the cityscape, so in that way I think they are similar to painting and sculpture, which aspire to create an emotional, physical, and intellectual response to ideas made public.

Anna Indych-Lopez: Cities function very much as cradles of aesthetic innovation.

Segment Title: Program 12: Conflict and Resistance

Gwendolyn Shaw: So much of visual art production arises out of moments of military and political conflict. You have huge bodies of painting and public sculpture and popular press images, broadsides that were posted on walls. So much of the importance during those political moments was translated into visual imagery. Because the images themselves can often be more persuasive, especially if they’re supposedly created around some kind of true moment, if they’re supposed to be eyewitness scenes, they can convey much more than words alone.

The importance of the visual, the power of the visual, the power of it to change the ways that people think is a way to express dissent.

Segment Title: Program 13: The Human Body

Roselee Goldberg: The body is the starting point for just about every kind of art format. You start with the body, you start with this physical being, what we know. It’s absolutely the beginning.

Zainab Bahrani: From the first moments in which human beings began to think about representing the world around them, the human form became something of interest.

Pepe Karmel: As some people have suggested art may have actually started with the body, not in terms of people making pictures of bodies, but of decorating the body, and then moved outwards from there.

Andrew Bolton: The body is constantly in vogue and it’s constantly in vogue in art.

Anne D’Alleva: And that’s because in many ways art is about the human experience, and it’s about the experience of being here. And what better way to express that, or to begin to express that, or to think about that or to shape that, than by representing the body.

The human impulse to create art is universal. Art has been has been a way to communicate beliefs and express ideas about the human experience throughout all stages of civilization and in every region of the world. As cultural documents, works of art provide important insights into past and existing cultures, helping us to understand how others have lived and what they valued.

Art Through Time: A Global View, featuring thirteen half-hour programs, a guide, text, and other Web resources, takes a thematic approach to art history and appreciation. Rather than a linear chronology, the materials explore connections in Western and non-Western art, illuminating the breadth, complexity, and beauty of works produced around the world and at different periods of time.

In each program focusing on a particular theme, a diverse group of leading experts, together with a living artist, contextualize and connect featured works from different cultures and eras. The Web site, guide, and text provide a variety of opportunities to learn more.

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Consultant Biographies

Lead Content Consultant

Marilyn JS Goodman, Ed.D., is an internationally recognized arts and museum educator. Prior to becoming a full-time consultant and writer in 2001, she was appointed as the first director of education for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, where she created the education departments in both New York and at the Museo Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain, developing a comprehensive range of didactic programs and materials on modern and contemporary art. A longstanding member of the International Association of Art Critics, she has lectured widely and published numerous articles and award-winning guides in the United States and abroad, including two books on looking at art for young audiences. Goodman holds a doctorate from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has taught at various institutions including City College of the City University of New York, Moore College of Art & Design, the Boston Architectural Center, and Clark University, where she also directed the Clark University School at the Worcester Art Museum. Formerly, she was director of the Philadelphia Art Alliance and the Children’s Museum of Cincinnati. Goodman also served as lead content advisor for Artopia, an animated art-themed television series for children developed by THIRTEEN.

Content Consultants

Tom L. Freudenheim has served as director of several museums, including the Baltimore Museum of Art, Worcester Art Museum, and London’s Gilbert Collection. As Assistant Secretary for Museums at the Smithsonian Institutions, he had oversight responsibility for all the national museums. An art historian with degrees from Harvard College and New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, he also was director of the Museum Program at the National Endowment for the Arts. Currently he serves as president of the American Federation of Arts and writes regularly for the Wall Street JournalCurator: The Museum Journal, and other publications.

Harriet F. Senie, Ph.D., is director of museum studies and professor of art history at City College and the CUNY Graduate Center. Previously she was associate director of the Art Museum, Princeton University, and director of the Amelie Wallace Gallery at SUNY, Old Westbury. In addition to being co-editor of Critical Issues in Public Art, she is the author of The ‘Tilted Arc’ Controversy: Dangerous Precedent?Contemporary Public Sculpture: Tradition, Transformation and Controversy and numerous articles and essays on sculpture and public art. Her current book project is American Memorials to Shattered Myths: Vietnam to 9/11. She is the co-founder and co-director of Public Art Dialogue (PAD), a cross-disciplinary organization focused on the critical study of public art ( and the co-editor of its upcoming journal to be published in paper and e-versions starting in 2011. She earned a Ph.D. in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, an M.A. in art history from Hunter College, and a B.A. in English and American literature from Brandeis University.

Advisory Board

Isolde Brielmaier, Ph.D., is a New York-based curator and writer as well as visiting assistant professor of art at Vassar College and guest professor at Barnard College/Columbia University and New York University. She holds a Ph.D. in art history and cultural studies from Columbia University. Brielmaier is the author of Zwelethu Mthethwa and Wangechi Mutu: A Shady Promise, in addition to other publications, and has curated several exhibitions, including “Signs Taken for Wonders,” “Shinique Smith: Torchsongs,” “Titus Kaphar: Painting Undone,” and “INGRIDMWANGIROBERTHUTTER, Select Videos, 2006-07.” She has also developed contemporary art programs and special events for ARCO Contemporary Art Fair in Madrid, Art Chicago, and The New York Armory/Volta. Brielmaier is the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships from institutions including the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council. She has been profiled and noted in the New York TimesUPTOWN Magazine, VIBE Magazine, FREEUpscaleThe Roof TVMiami, and NPR-WPS1 Radio in New York.

Lowry Burgess is professor of art, former dean of the College of Fine Arts, and distinguished fellow in the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University. He has served on the National Humanities Faculty and has been a fellow, senior consultant, and advisor at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. During his long career as an educator in the arts, Burgess has founded and administrated numerous departments, institutions, and programs, including “First Night,” an international New Year’s arts festival, and the Department of Transportation’s “Arts in the Subways.” After the destruction of the Buddhas in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, in 2001, he authored the “Toronto Manifesto, The Right to Human Memory,” which received worldwide endorsement. He has been honored with awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the Guggenheim Foundation, and other organizations. Considered a pioneer of the Space Art movement, Burgess has art in the collections of museums and archives in the U.S. and Europe and has exhibited his work internationally. Burgess was educated at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, University of Pennsylvania, and the Instituto Allende in San Miguel, Mexico.

Jay Levenson, J.D., is the director of the International Program at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Levenson served as guest curator of “Encompassing the Globe: Portugal and the World in the 16th and 17th centuries,” an exhibition at the Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery in collaboration with the National Museum of African Art. Prior to joining MOMA, Levenson was deputy director for program administration at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, where he coordinated shows including “Africa: The Art of a Continent” and “China: 5000 Years.” Prior to working at the Guggenheim, Levenson served as managing curator of “Rings: Five Passions in World Art,” an exhibition at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta that ran in conjunction with the 1996 Summer Olympics. At the National Gallery of Art, Levenson was managing curator of “Circa 1492: Art in the Age of Exploration,” as well as “The Age of the Baroque in Portugal,” “Giambologna’s Cesarini Venus” and “Dürer in America: His Graphic Work.”

Judith E. Stein, Ph.D., is an independent curator and writer. At the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, she organized the national touring exhibitions: “Red Grooms: A Retrospective,” “The Figurative Fifties: New York School Figurative Expressionism,” and “I Tell My Heart: The Art of Horace Pippin,” which traveled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. For New York’s New Museum, she co-curated “Picturing the Modern Amazon.” A recipient of a Pew Fellowship in the Arts for her writings on art, in 2008 she received a major award from the Warhol Foundation/Creative Capital Arts Writers Grant initiative for her biography-in-progress on art dealer Richard Bellamy, the “eye of the sixties.” A long-time contributor to ”Art in America”, she was Terry Gross’s arts reviewer for NPR’s ”Fresh Air” in its early years.

Ann Yonemura is senior associate curator of Japanese art at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Her exhibitions include “The Tale of Shuten Dōji” (2009), “Hokusai” (2006), “Faith and Form: Selected Japanese Painting from the Japanese Religious Traditions” (2003), “Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints in the Anne van Biema Collection” (2002), and she was editor and contributing author for the catalogues for Twelve Centuries of Japanese Art from the Imperial Collections and Ancient Japan, all at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. She has also organized numerous thematic exhibitions from the permanent collections of the Freer Gallery of Art and has published research on Japanese paintings, calligraphy, and lacquer. She has served on the Editorial Committee of the journal Ars Orientalis. She was a recipient of an invitational grant from the Agency for Cultural Affairs of the government of Japan to conduct research at the Nara National Museum. Yonemura is currently engaged in a multi-disciplinary research and cataloguing project on over 2,000 volumes of Japanese illustrated books in the Gerhard Pulverer Collection, recently acquired by the Freer Gallery of Art. Plans for an online, fully illustrated catalogue, are in progress under a grant from the Getty Foundation.

Series Directory

Art Through Time: A Global View


Produced by THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG. 2009.
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  • ISBN: 1-57680-888-2